Fabian Qamar is a gifted musician and jazz is one of his many talents. His love for jazz started when he was a young child and he first experienced music at home. His father, Nadi Qamar (aka Spaulding Givens) was a jazz musician and afromusicologist and would play piano and self-crafted african instruments at home as Fabian was growing up. After a meal, his dad would often lean back and tell a story about a jazz musician he’d worked with. When Fabian began to make his own music, he started with boogie woogie tunes on the keyboard.
Fabian currently makes jazz as a vocalist, pianist, arranger, composer, and bandleader. He performs with his jazz trio, Jive Safely, in southeastern Wisconsin and beyond. He also frequently plays keyboard in the band for the Radio Rosies, a USO-style vocal trio from Milwaukee. In addition, Fabian gives lessons in the Sheboygan area in jazz piano and voice.
Currently, one of Fabian’s favorite jazz artists is Patrick Bartley. He discovered this New York-based saxophonist while watching a session with pianist Emmet Cohen on YouTube. Fabian describes a solo by Bartley on After You've Gone as “one of the most amazing things I've ever heard.” Another favorite is the Sant Andreu Jazz Band from Spain, because young people are involved in the band and the musicality is impressive.
When asked about his favorite way to perform jazz, Fabian says that he enjoys being a part of a trio or quartet jazz group the most. In these small groups, the musicians have freedom to improvise but they can also rely on other members of the band to fill in and create a full performance. One of the pieces Fabian sang and played most recently was a small group performance of “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” as sung by the Boswell Sisters, an influential American jazz vocal trio from the 1930s.