Najee started his career as a sideman of Chaka
Khan in 1983.Through his association with Melisa Morgan who was a
background vocalist for Chaka Khan, Najee met Charles Huggins, who
initiated his first album Najees Theme (1986). Day By
Day (1988) was his sophomore album which found immediately the way
into my collection.
Tokyo Blue (1990), Just An Illusion
(1992), Share My World (1994), Najee Plays Songs from the
Key of Life: A Tribute to Stevie Wonder (1995). Morning
Tenderness (1998), Embrace (2003), My Point Of View
(2005) were the following albums. Rising Sun (2007) is the second
album which will be released on Heads Up International.
John Mayer penned the first track called
Clarity. Guitarist Mayer wrote this song for his third album
Heavier Things (2003). Although the melody is simple, the tune has
a classy intro and especially the echoes make this song astonishing
attractive. John Grant has the right hand on electric and acoustic
guitar, while Najee guides us through the melody line like the Pied
Piper of Hamelin.
Chris "Big Dog" Davis is a genius composer,
producer and multi-instrumentalist. He already worked with one half of
the musical world, and the other half would like to follow. To let him
produce your album is like a win in the lottery. He already teamed up
with Najee on his previous album My Point Of View. Brazilian
Affair is his new creation. A sophisticated bossa nova tune,
perfectly arranged and performed.
On Child At Heart Najee performs the
flute, giving the tune a smoother attitude. Co-writer and pianist of
this song is Phil Davis, whose production firm
PhD Productions is well
established in the music world. Al Jarreau, Norman Brown, Boney James,
Alex Bugnon, Walter Beasley and many others are his clients. His solo
projects Cape Coast and Jordan are available at CDBaby.
Najee opens the door to the magic world of flute. Brilliant!
Can't Wait Another Minute by Chris Davis
is featuring singer Timmy Maia and Iassac Clemon. I recommend Timmy
Maia's second album My Heart Belongs To You (2005), which is
available at CDBaby. He
is also member of the band
Blue together with Jay Lowe. A heartfelt soulish crooner.
Come What May has an awesome interaction
between a chorus line of sax (Tony Watson Jr.) and Najee's lead sax.
Friends of POAD will love James Lloyd's bridge on the Fender Rhodes.
James co-wrote the tune with Najee.
On Out Of A Dream Najee performs on alto
saxophone, usually he prefers soprano sax. Jeff Antoniuk (tenor sax)
creates together with Andy Kushner (trumpet, flugelhorn) a vivid horn
background. James Lloyd was working with Najee in his studio, but
nothing was really come together. Najee recalls: "I was about to
leave, and he was going through a CD of stuff he'd recorded, just to
see what was on it. I heard this fragment of a song that really hit
me. He told me it was something that had come to him when he was
sleeping one night. He got up in the middle of the night, recorded it,
went back to bed and completely forget about it."
Sax and flute player James Moody is best known
for his song Moody's Mood For Love, an improvisation based on
I'm in the Mood for Love. Najee’s cover of this tune resulted
from a chance encounter in a woodwind store in New York City. “I was
inside the store just trying out some flutes. He heard me playing in
the upper level of the store, and he came upstairs and said, ‘Man, how
do you get that sound?’ He started asking me all kinds of questions.
It was really kind of flattering. We had our picture taken together,
the whole bit.” Smooth jazz meets hard bop. Excellent.
Still In Love is build on a compact rhythm section and a repetitive
loop feeding the energy for Najee's melody.
Romance The Night is featuring Phil Perry,
a tune in the style of Adult Soul. Phil Perry has just released a new
album called A Mighty Love. Phil Perry needs no introduction; he is
one of the most renowned crooners of R&B and Smooth Jazz love songs.
Famous for his #1 R&B single “Call Me,” his lead vocals with Foreplay
and the Benoit/Freeman project and his distinctive background vocals
with the likes of Anita Baker, Barbra Streisand, Patti LaBelle, Quincy
Jones and many others, Phil Perry ranks among the best of the best.
Smooth Sailing is flirting with a classic
theme mixed up to a contemporary potpourri.
The spiritual title song Rising Sun
catches the moment of early morning with a Spanish flavored acoustic
guitar and Najee's intimate flute.
Najee is the mellow romantic side of smooth jazz,