makes a musician to a legend? Is it fame or notoriety? Legends are
musicians who have set new standards in their genre, who have
significantly influenced their musical style and in particular
other musicians. If these standards are applied, Najee can rightly
be called a legend.
Center Of The Heart (2019) is Najee's sign of continuous
creativity and productivity after fifteen studio albums, two live
albums and three compilations. Najee performs on his new album
flute, soprano, alto and tenor sax. He works with Grecco Buratto,
Ken Turner, Kenny Lattimore (vocals), Demonte Posey (keyboards,
strings, bass synth, drums), Rohan Reid (bass and acoustic
guitar), Darren Rahn (sax and Rhodes, programming, synth and
bass), Allen Hinds, Darrell Crooks (guitars), Mell Brown, Alex Al
(bass), Tarell Martin, Eric Valentine (drums), Greg Manning
(keyboards, programming, synth bass), Anthony Saunders (background
vocals), Superb and Harmoni Clawson (spoken words), Rod Bonner
(Vocoder, keyboards, key bass, drum programming), Blair Bryant (bass, drums, bass synth), and Donald Hayes (horn arrangement).
The album opens with the vibrant Bella Vista featuring
Najee on flute. Brazilian-born Grecco Buratto's lively singing
creates a Latin ambiance. Najee is an admirer of Darren Rahn's
treatment of the saxophone. He had already worked with him on the
albums The Smooth Side Of Soul and Mind Over Matter.
Face To Face offers a new opportunity for collaboration.
While Darren plays the saxes and some additional instruments,
Najee shines on flute sharing the melody in equal parts with
plenty of room for own presentation.
Sumthin' Sumthin' is a mid up-tempo song by American neo
soul singer Maxwell. The third single from his album Urban
Hang Suite (1996). Najee adds on his rendition his magic
instrumental touch but also favorites Ken Turner's vocals.
Alfie is a song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David to
promote the 1966 film Alfie. Although somewhat dusty due
to age, Najee is able to peel the beauty of the melody from its
Better is Najee's first collaboration with singer Kenny
Lattimore. Najee comments: “Kenny and I started our careers around
same time and never did a record together even though we have been
around the world together. We first met in 1998 when we both
performed at Nelson Mandela’s Gift To the Nation concert in
Johannesburg and Durban.” While Kenny composes the melody like a
mosaic overdub wise in R&B technique, Najee masterly improvises on
The Way She Moves was written, arranged, mixed, produced
and performed by Swiss-American keyboardist Greg Manning, who has
an ear for the trendy melody that perfectly adapts to the genre.
One Note Love is a song written by Rod Bonner and Superb
Clawson building a bridge between smooth jazz and hip hop. Superb
is by the way Najee's son.
With Speak Love! Greg Manning and Najee offer another seductively
stimulating song who has all the prerequisites to become a
classic. Center of the Heart is penned by Kansas City
Missouri born bassist Blair Bryant who has surprised this year the
listeners with the uniqueness of his third album Cerulean Blue.
The catchy hook of this mind opener is on point. You will love
Blair's piccolo bass.
Tonight We Say Goodbye is a wonderful reflection about
Earth, Wind and Fire's Phenix Horns. Donald Hayes is responsible
for the graceful horn arrangement. A perfect base for Najee to
expand his sax skills.
On Center of the Heart Najee can fully rely on the
compositional qualities of his fellow players or musical
ancestors, which gives him the opportunity to showcase his
passionate perfection as performer. Najee pulls the right trigger
to satisfy his fans captivating their minds and bodies.
Buy the album in all stores
Title: Center Of The Heart
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Shanachie Entertainment
1 Bella Vista 5:06
2 Face to Face (feat. Darren Rahn) 4:17
3 Sumthin' Sumthin' 4:31
4 Alfie 6:10
5 Better (feat.
Kenny Lattimore) 4:31
6 The Way She Moves (feat. Greg
7 One Note Love (feat. Rod Bonner & Superb
8 Speak Love! 4:17
9 Center of the Heart
(feat. Blair Bryant) 4:40
10 Tonight We Say Goodbye 6:01
The Morning After
The Smooth Side Of Soul
My Point Of View
You, Me And Forever
Poetry In Motion