Fresh from headlining at the 2021 Wellington Jazz Festival , Umar Zakaria is a Tui award-winning New Zealand bassist and composer filled with hope for the future. His music unites diverse musical traditions to inspire communication and cooperation across boundaries. The Umar Zakaria Trio features Duncan Haynes on piano and Luther Hunt on drums, presenting a vibrant programme of American jazz classics as well as original pieces based on Malay influences and Kiwi experiences. They will be joined by local sax virtuoso Cheena Rae as a special guest.
Umar has given performances across Europe, Asia and the USA alongside Myele Manzanza, Norio Maeda, Snorre Kirk, Fabia Mantwill and Ben Wendel among others. He is a student of legendary jazz bassists Cecil McBee and Lynn Seaton as well as NZ’s own Paul Dyne, and was awarded 2nd prize at the BASS2014 International Jazz Bass Competition. He was named ‘Best Jazz Artist by Recorded Music New Zealand in 2018 and was awarded a scholarship to attend the renowned Banff International Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music the following year.
Umar’s compositions have been played on Radio New Zealand, at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington and in the Christchurch Town Hall. The 2021 Wellington Jazz Festival premiered his latest massive project titled 'Sun Song Suites': a 3-hour epic performed across 4 concerts throughout the day. On a smaller scale, the trio's crisp and energetic arrangements leave plenty of room to showcase the individual personalities and technical expertise of his musical companions, intertwined in improvisation.
Having developed a reputation for emotionally stirring performances, Umar now seeks to share heartfelt original music with his trio to audiences across New Zealand and internationally, spreading a message of courage and unity through the powerful sound of the double bass.