photo by Paul Bodin

In the spring of 1996 Hashem Assadullahi spent an afternoon at Blockbuster Music hunting for the perfect jazz record(s) worthy of his hard-earned $33.  Emerging with two CDs, he immediately hijacked his parents’ car stereo, armed with a discman AND tape-deck converter. The first track he played was “Fun” on Cannonball Adderley’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”, which, along with the fourth track, “Sticks”, not only set the tone for the rest of the record, but also crystallized the trajectory of Hashem’s life.   

Now a saxophonist, bandleader, and music educator based in New York City, he brings fun wrapped in lyrical lines and a warm, rich tone, to every stage he’s on.  Like his earliest influence, Cannonball, Hashem’s captivating stage presence encourages even the most novice listener to enjoy the most eclectic and cerebral aspects of jazz.   

Since moving to NYC in 2010 Hashem has sought out kindred musical spirits who play with a strong sense of joy, creativity, and beauty. He has formed groups with some of the scene’s most lauded talents to satisfy his broad palette of tastes, with groups like the Standard Deviation Trio with Matt Wilson and Leonard Thompson, featuring a unique approach of spontaneously-arranged standards, to his punk-infused crowd pleaser, Safety Buffalo, to numerous duo-to-sextet configurations with jazz luminaries like Alan Ferber, Ben Monder, Peter Brendler, Gary Versace, Mark Ferber, Pete McCann, and Rich Perry.  As a leader and sideman Hashem has performed across the country in some of the nation’s most acclaimed clubs including The Stone, Joe’s Pub, Dazzle, Constellation, The Bar Next Door, Jimmy Mak’s, and Rockwood, in addition to concert halls, festivals, house concerts, and dive bars. While living in Oregon, Hashem formed his quintet in 2008, featuring some of the best musicians in the Pacific Northwest, along with trumpet icon, Ron Miles.  The group has since expanded to a sextet and has released two albums: Strange Neighbor (8bells, 014), and Pieces (OA2 records, 22097), frequently highlighted on NPR’s Morning Edition and Fresh Air.  In addition to his own releases, Hashem has had the opportunity to record as a sideman with several ensembles, appearing on over a dozen albums spanning various styles from straight ahead jazz, to rock, to classical chamber music.

Apart from performing, Hashem is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher of students from Pre-K to collegiate levels.  He has held positions teaching music courses and directing ensembles at a number of institutions including Mahidol University in Salaya, Thailand, Boston University, Lane Community College, and the University of Oregon.  Hashem frequently serves as a clinician and adjudicator across the United States and abroad. Hashem received his Bachelors of Music Education from the University of Texas in Arlington and a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Oregon.


Long Bio!!

circa 1996

I started my love affair with the saxophone in the Lone Star State, Texas, when I joined the 6th grade band–about 18 years ago. Even before I began band I had a deep love for music, growing up in a home filled with music on the radio, TV theme songs and music from Iran, my father’s motherland. All of this music has influenced the music I perform today. I had the great fortune to attend very strong middle school and high school music programs in The Colony, TX (sounds creepy but wasn’t), in which I had the opportunity to meet my long-time private lesson teacher, Rob Rose.

Over the years Rob taught me a lot of ins and outs of the saxophone and we formed a lifelong friendship. In the 9th grade I purchased my first Cannonball Adderley CD and in a moment my dreams of becoming a doctor were shattered and my life took on a new trajectory.

2001 UTA JO

In 2004 I received my Bachelors of Music Education from the University of Texas in Arlington where I continued to study with Rob, along with Ray Lichtenwalter and Bill Snodgrass–each stalwarts in their fields. While at UTA I learned a lot about music and in the process had the honor and fortune to participate in and win numerous classical and jazz soloist, concerto, and scholarship competitions. In 2007 I received a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Oregon where I studied and taught as a Graduate Teaching Fellow under my mentor, Steve Owen.

Along with playing the saxophone I love to write music to perform with some of my very best friends, my band mates.  In addition to writing for my own bands I have been commissioned to write pieces for schools, events, and films.  As a writer , I often draw from elements of  pop music and TV themes, the musical sounds of my childhood, in addition to jazz and classical influences.

photo by Paul Bodin

In addition to performing, I have a deep passion for teaching and sharing the gift of music with students of all ages. I have held positions teaching saxophone performance, theory, composition, music fundamentals and arranging, and I directed/coached large and small ensembles at various institutions including Mahidol University in Salaya, Thailand, Lane Community College, the University of Oregon, and South Eugene High School. Additionally, I have been a guest clinician and adjudicator at middle schools, high schools, universities, and community learning centers across the world including Oregon, Montana, California, Washington, Texas, British Columbia, Thailand and Malaysia.

%d bloggers like this: