Zayn|Music - A Brief History
"Hazrat Inayat Khan said everything is music. Indeed, for me it serves the paramount purpose to my life as through music, I discover beautiful people, cultures & universes upon universes" - Zayn Mohammed is U.K. based multi-instrumentalist, composer & guitar extraordinaire. Born & raised in London, Zayn relocated to Dubai at 16 where he continued his education, before going on to receive his BA in America. In discovering Flamenco guitar & his passion for music at the tender age of three years old, it’s clear his life has been dedicated to music. Zayn played exclusively Flamenco up to 11 & served his time 'rebelling', spending some years playing progressive rock guitar too (performing the music of Steve Vai & Joe Satriani on live U.K. television aged 12 click here). Change occurred however, when starting to imitate the music of his 'uncle' & mentor - Pittsburgh-born jazz-pianist Ahmad Jamal, recognized for creating the cool jazz movement. Jamal heavily influenced trumpeter Miles Davis & is the most sampled musician on the planet (click here) & very dear, long-time friend to Zayn's father. Zayn grew up to Jamal's music from an early age but only in his teens was he to learn that it was due to Jamal’s mastery & aesthetics – the subtlety & sophistication, delicate yet strong, bold sound that undeniably led Zayn to jazz. He was shortly there-after introduced to George Benson's playing - another pivotal point in his journey.
Zayn decided to cultivate himself at Boston's renowned Berklee, college of Music. In early 2012, Zayn was also accepted to & became an essential addition to Berklee's prestigious 'Global Jazz institute' - an elite jazz programme, within Berklee, run by award winning pianist & composer, Danilo Perez. Zayn was mentored by jazz legends & teachers such as Fred Hersch, Joe Lovano, Ben Street, David Gilmore, John Patitucci & the great Wayne Shorter amongst many others. The frequent meetings with his uncle Jamal, (who would attend Zayn's Blue Note performance) throughout Zayn's time in America & their close musical, spiritual bond undeniably influenced Zayn deeply. Zayn graduated from Berklee in 2013 having been recipient of the 'Guitar Achievement Award' twice & went on to continue music in New York for a couple of years before returning to his hometown.
His boundless musicality navigates through a myriad of instruments & musical-genres, with a particular penchant for Jazz, world-fusion, funk & neo-soul. In addition to playing most styles of acoustic & eletric guitar, Zayn is a highly proficient oud player & sarod player, often collaborating in cross-over projects & lending his compositional skills to film scoring. He is also a keen saz/baglama & rebab (ancient central-Asian spike-fiddle) player. Zayn says "All instrument's have a relevant sound or voice, like colors...the oud is a wise old man speaking, the sarod a beautiful maiden singing, my guitar some days - in-between a dying fender rhodes and a cheap sax! But I'm grateful to have a rainbow of a palette, from which to paint my picture!". In doing so, Zayn is known to treat the listener to unique phrasing & undiscovered melodic improvisation. Through his innovate, tasteful incorporation of sounds from his cultures & journey into the music he loves & creates, Zayn steps into indefineable territories.
Wearing many hats at once, Zayn has a secret love for producing retro ‘pop’ & funk music, in light of his biggest artistic inspiration, Michael Jackson & Zayn is also an outstanding bass player. He opened for bass legend Stanley Clarke, at the Blue Note, NYC & has also performed there for another of Zayn's big influences - jazz legend Pat Martino. Zayn has shared the stage with guitarist - Lee Ritenour, soul & gospel singer - Oleta Adams, saxophonist - Wayne Shorter, French jazz singer - Anne Ducros, drummer for Marcus Miller - Louis Cato, Snarky Puppy's keyboardist - Cory Henry, R&B Singer - Jesse Boykins, Hiphop act & nephew to Whitney Houston - Gary Michael Houston, Spanky McGurdy (of Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga & others), Grammy award winning trumpeter - Roy Hargrove, Arabic musician & 11 time Grammy nominee, Simon Shaheen & countless more. Zayn was crowned SKY ARTS GUITAR STAR 2016, he continues to push his musical boundaries by making an unmistakeable mark in the music world.
Very special thanks to Steve Kasas for this Bio