The Hashem Assadullahi’s Standard Deviation Trio
Patterned after Lester Young’s trio with Nat King Cole & Buddy Rich, Hashem Assadullahi’s Standard Deviation Trio features the exemplary talents of Leonard Thompson and Matt Wilson, who, together with Hashem, spontaneously arrange the sometimes-classic, sometimes-rare gems of Kern, Gershwin, Rodgers, Berlin, and many others. The group is defined by a sense of inspired abandon, improvising not only with the inherent harmony of the tunes, but also with the form itself, while vigilantly maintaining the integrity of each piece. The Standard Deviation Trio is an attempt at melding the approach of the great jazz singers, from Ella Fitzgerald, to Nancy Wilson, to Sarah Vaughn, with that of “free” players like Dewey Redman, Ellery Eskelin, and Don Cherry.
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.