I have been following the Afro-American saxophonist Najee for many years. After all, he has belonged to the top of smooth jazz for about 4 decades.

On his latest album, he explores different musical genres, saying: “I gave up worrying about disputes between genres a long time ago. Duke Ellington said there are only two kinds of music: good music and bad music. So based on that I don't worry. People seem to forget that in the early days of jazz, the music was designed to make people dance. All of your experiences live inside you and they come out in your music. I just want to make good music and make it accessible for people to enjoy.”

Najee could count on several well-known colleagues for this project, such as pianist Frank Wilkens on the soulful opener 'Dr. Dolittle', followed by 'Luna' on which pianist & keyboard player Mark Harris II is a guest, and Najee cheerfully chooses the flute himself. 'Valentine Love' is a vocal slow jam, a cover of the Norman Connors song, sung by Alyson Williams with Chris “Big Dog” Davis on keyboards.

Then we go to Brazil for a cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim's 'A Felicidade' or 'Happiness'. A fun new version featuring the voices of Bossa Nova Noites & Curtis King, Jr. And we stay in a Latin atmosphere with 'Isla Hermosa', a track by Barry Eastmond, followed by guitarist Adam Hawley on the funky uptempo 'Hurricane'. Bassist and keyboardist David Dyson can be heard again on 'Bottom to the Top', followed by the sensual 'Modern Lovers', here sung by Frank McComb. This track reminds me of Stevie Wonder and has that Brazilian vibe again. But the danceable 'Bounce' features veteran Paul Brown, while the title track closes in a romantic atmosphere.

Once again a great album by saxophonist and flutist Najee, with hints of soul, funk, smooth jazz and R&B!





1) Dr. Dolittle (Featuring Frank Wilkens) (4:28)
2) Luna (Featuring Mark Harris) (4:01)
3) Valentine Love (Featuring Alyson Williams) (4:40)
4) A Felicidade - Happiness (4:18)
5) Isla Hermosa (5:02)
6) Hurricane (Featuring Adam Hawley) (5:02)
7) Bottom To The Top (Featuring David Dyson) (4:17)
8) Modern Lovers (Featuring Frank McComb) (4:21)
9) Bounce (4:20)
10) Savoir Faire (5:18)


Copied from Cultuurmania with permission of the author.