Saadi Zain

Upright & Electric Bass


About Saadi


Well-versed in a multitude of musical genres, from jazz to classical to rock, Latin jazz and world music, New York City-based Saadi Zain is respected as a highly skilled and versatile bassist. A force on both double bass and electric basses, Saadi has performed with a wide diversity of artists, including Ron Carter, Diana Krall, Jennifer Holliday, and Jessye Norman in notable venues both domestically and internationally. He just finished performing the inaugural concert of the South Asian Symphony Orchestra in Mumbai, India as principal bassist. Earlier this year, he was part of the world premiere of “Little “Girl Blue” the Nina Simone musical as Nina’s bassist, at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick . A multi-instrumentalist in high school, Saadi was involved in jazz, classical music, theater musicals and a rock band.; As a jazz musician, Saadi is one of a fortunate few who learned and perfected his craft directly from his meaningful relationships with jazz masters.

As an undergraduate at the Hartt School of Music, Saadi received an education built and run by saxophonist Jackie McLean, with whom Saadi performed with on several occasions. Also involved in classical bass there, Saadi studied with Rick Rozie, then principal of the Hartford Symphony and participated in several master classes with the renowned bass soloist Gary Karr. After moving to New York, Saadi studied with Homer Mensch (formerly of the New York Philharmonic) for two years before enrolling at the City College of New York where he began a long-time mentorship under legendary bassist Ron Carter which continues through this day

For over 12 years Saadi served as the bassist of the contemporary jazz big band “Supersound” led by master drummer Charli Persip, with whom he formed a friendship and which was a formidable learning experience. Later he became the bassist with Wade Barnes’ “Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble” and his spin-off projects which included many NYC jazz luminaries. Saadi also studied Latin Jazz, playing in Ray Santos’ Latin Jazz Orchestra at CCNY and later playing in Latin Bands and also Brazilian bands in New York City. Saadi also performed regularly in a club date band in the late 90's covering contemporary pop tunes, oldies and classic disco hits. During this time, he also lent his services out to agency bands, particularly Steven Scott Orchestras and later played in the classical society string orchestra Empyreal Strings which performed for many high profile events around the country and also in Europe.

Saadi has also performed with various local and regional orchestras, including the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, the PA Sinfonia, the Dicapo Opera orchestra and the Orchestra of the Bronx. He has been involved in film and commercial work and can be heard in the film “The Savages” with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney. In 2009 Saadi was engaged by Ron Carter to play bass alongside Mr. Carter, who played piccolo bass, in a week-long engagement of his Nonet at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City. In 2010 Saadi toured Europe with Jessye Norman as part of a quintet for her “Roots: My Life, My Song” project. He has been a member of the Roy Meriwether trio for many years and can be heard on two of his recordings. He is a founding member of the recently-formed Jeff Franzel trio, which just recorded a CD in Nashville, TN (MTSU) using a new binaural recording technique. He is also featured on the latest CD  of Carol Woods, “Ain't We Got Fun,” (2017) featuring the music of Richard Whiting and "Bluer than Velvet," a tribute to Arthur Prysock by E.J. Decker (2018). 

Saadi currently performs throughout the New York City area (see the "Performances" page for details) and has toured extensively in the US and abroad, including France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Mexico, China and Taiwan. In early 2018, he was part of a U.S. State Department tour of five countries in Africa: Mozambique, Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal and Mauritania, with Camille Thurman and the dynamic Darrell Green Trio, which included David Bryant on piano and Darrell Green on drums. Saadi also performs in the Broadway orchestras of “The Lion King” and “Wicked” and has also performed in countless theatrical productions and national tours, including “Chicago” with John O’Hurley, “Wicked” with John Davidson, the revival of “West Side Story” and “Sweet Charity” with Molly Ringwald. He also played in the Broadway orchestras of “Motown the Musical,” “Mary Poppins,” the “Evita” revival with Ricky Martin, "The Phantom of the Opera" with several “Phantoms” including Norm Lewis, and the revival of "The Color Purple" with Jennifer Hudson, Heather Headley and later Jennifer Holliday with whom he has also toured previously.

Other artists and ensembles with whom Saadi performs or has performed include: Muhal Richard Abrams, Eddie Allen, Joshua Bell, Joe Cohn, Eric Comstock, Marion Cowings, Tony DeSare, Natalie Douglas, Al Grey, Loston Harris, the Jimmy Heath big band, Patience Higgins, Buck Hill, Ronny Jordan, Sheila Jordan, Linda Lavin, Tony Middleton, the Mingus Orchestra, Patrick Page, Valery Ponomarev, Houston Person, Antoine Roney, Bill Ware (and his Vibes trio), Jon Weber (of NPR’s Piano Jazz), Jack Wilkins and Aaron Weinstein.

Notable venues Saadi has performed in include: Carnegie Hall, The Blue Note Jazz Club (New York City and Milan, Italy), Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola and Rose Hall (JALC), The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Filene Center at Wolf Trap, The Großes Festspielhaus (Salzburg), The Olympia Theater (Paris), BB King Blues Club and Grill, Blues Alley, The Bohemian Caverns (Washington DC), The Lenox Lounge, The Carlyle Hotel and the Algonquin Oak Room

HEAr Saadi Play