Saudi Musos Jazz Up Riyadh Music Scene

Singer Nourah Alammary expresses how jazz deeply resonated with her spirit when she first encountered the genre during her teenage years.

The CEO of the Music Commission highlights the striking parallels between Arabic music and jazz.


The theater at the Saudi Music Hub in Riyadh was filled with an enthusiastic and cheerful audience during “Jazzin About,” an evening dedicated to this genre, which appears to be gaining popularity among local artists.

Paul Pacifico, the CEO of the Music Commission, shared at the event, “Many elements of Arabic music, like jazz, are rooted in improvisation, highlighting significant similarities. Indeed, when tracing the evolution of music across centuries, a gradual shift from the East to the West is evident.”

As I’ve spent time in Saudi Arabia and delved deeper into its music, I’ve discerned the echoes of its musical heritage stretching from the Arabian Peninsula through North Africa to Spain and the flamenco tradition, and even across the Atlantic into the realm of jazz. These diverse influences resonate strongly.

The stage came alive with the mellow, jazzy melodies performed by Nourah Alammary and Magda on vocals, accompanied by Mazen Lawand on piano, Karin Kotb on the double bass, Hasan on drums, and Mohammed Hakeem on trumpet.

They performed an engaging repertoire that featured creative and contemporary renditions of classic movie songs like “My Favorite Things” and “My Funny Valentine,” along with timeless tunes by jazz icons Duke Ellington and Nina Simone.

Saudi vocalist Alammary suggests that Saudis have long held an affinity for jazz. She mentioned, “We’ve seen local talents emerging from jazz groups or engaging in the genre in various capacities. The appetite for jazz, whether it’s the classics or original compositions, has persistently existed,” in conversation with Arab News.

On stage, Alammary showcased her childhood influences by performing beloved Disney soundtrack classics, including “I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song)” from “The Jungle Book” and “Some Day My Prince Will Come” from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

She informed Arab News, “I instantly felt a strong connection. During my teenage years, I purchased a CD featuring timeless jazz tracks performed by icons such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, and Etta James. It was then that I realized this was the music that deeply resonated with me.”

While many teenagers were drawn to Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, Alammary’s heart was captivated by timeless melodies. “As Saudis, rhythm flows in our veins, making us naturally inclined to cherish these soulful tunes,” she explained. Her aspiration is to witness the global recognition of Saudi music.

“The music landscape experienced a significant surge since 2019, with both emerging and established local bands and artists across diverse genres creating original music. This growth is fostered by robust support and infrastructure development from public and private stakeholders,” she remarked.

He explained to Arab News that jazz was perceived by people as both exotic and remarkably beautiful. It was admired for its cool, classy, and chilled vibe, which indeed it embodies. However, it was also acknowledged as an exceptionally intricate genre of music, not easily mastered.

Advertisement Bizclan extends heartfelt gratitude to the Saudi musicians for enriching the Riyadh music scene with their captivating jazz performances. Your artistry and passion have truly transformed the musical landscape, and we look forward to more harmonious collaborations in the future. Thank you for jazzing up Riyadh!


The infusion of jazz into Riyadh’s music scene by Saudi musicians has brought a refreshing and vibrant dimension to the city’s musical landscape. With initiatives like Groovz and the Jeddah Jazz Fest, they have not only showcased their talent but also enriched the cultural fabric of the Kingdom. These events serve as a testament to the growing diversity and dynamism within Saudi Arabia’s music industry, promising a bright and melodious future for music enthusiasts in the region.

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