attentive observer of Najee's career will recognize the change of
Najee's outfit on his last three albums. In the past dressed elegant
like a nouveau rich Najee is now down to the earth. Indeed Najee's
contact to audience and fan base is better than ever. Najee can look
back on a long livelihood as one of the high acclaimed sax players. His
contributions to the music world are constantly perfect.
The title of Najee's new album Mind
Over Matter is inspired by Miles Davis’ art of songwriting. “In
his later years, he took a very loose and improvisational approach,” Najee comments. “He would start with nothing more than a groove that
Marcus Miller or some other member of his band would lay down. And
from there he would just develop these melodies that were very simple
but at the same time very compelling and very memorable. It was a
creative process that bypassed the nuts and bolts of the song and just
got right to the essence of it.”
Najee's song writing process was
supported by artists like keyboardist Jeff Lorber and vocalists Eric
Benét and Gary Taylor. The album opens the grooves with the urban
Love You A Lifetime. Luscious sax layers are the melodious
background for Najee's expressive sax solo enriched with some keyboard
gimmicks. Jeff Lorber's superb Rhodes solo
is the bridge to Najee's brilliant travel around on flute.
The popular shuffle rhythm is the
backbone for Najee's mellow soprano sax journeying on Sweet Summer
Nights. Also impressive the strong horn input by Darren Rahn.
Najee explains: “He’s a well-kept secret who has written for Wayman
Tisdale and many others. He’s very good at writing songs that
contemporary jazz radio likes to play.” Darren recently released his
new album Talk
Of The Town on NuGroove Records.
Matter shows keyboardist Will Brock in splendid condition. His
A Letter from Eye to I may find your attention.
The contemplative Love Forever And A Day After reveals Najee's
sophisticated and still romantic vein.
We Gone Ride
is a collaboration between Eric Benét and Najee, a bustle of r&b and
smooth jazz with a sprinkle of jazz. “When I recorded that song with
Eric, he said to me, ‘I had Roy Hargrove do the original horn
arrangement.’ Then producer Demonte Posey and saxophonist Mike Parlett
(Solar Radio) took Roy’s charts, made some modifications and came up
with the arrangement you hear on this track. It’s complex, but it
allows plenty of room for everyone in the section – Mike on tenor and
alto, John Papenbrook on trumpet and Andrew Lipman on trombone,"
Najee and pianist Darryl Woodson co-wrote and recorded The Journey.
A tune like a film-score." That's a song that follows a very simple
melody, but it speaks a lot in terms of how it comes across,” says
Najee. “The track is so full of opportunities for a soloist, and I had
to control my urge to play all over it. For me, it is the most
personal song on this record. One take, and that was it.”
is the second production with Jeff Lorber. Najee reminds: “I ended up
spending a lot of time at Jeff’s house and recording there. I really
didn’t expect to spend as much time working with him there as I did,
but we ended up having a lot of fun with these songs. We recorded six
to seven ideas and ended up with these two”. Jeff has a special
hand for the right pitch and his work on Rhodes and other ancient keys
Needless To Say
shines with an elegant and polished melody. Najee creates from every
song a musical work of art. One More Thing approaches the
contemporary jazz scene. Moon Over Carolina is Gary Taylor's
masterpiece. “Gary’s a very prolific R&B writer who has written with
Anita Baker and Will Downing,” says Najee. “He brings that same great
R&B sound to this song as well.” Gary performs beside Najee all
instruments and his mellow vocals are just brilliant.
Najee is a master of tenderness. He
embraces you with his delicious and soul stirring melodies day by day.
- Album Information
Title: Mind Over Matter
Genre: General Jazz
Label: Heads Up International
01 Love You A Lifetime [3:40]
02 Sweet Summer Nights [4:12]
03 Mind Over Matter [4:40]
04 Love Forever And A Day After [4:52]
05 We Gone Ride [5:26]
06 The Journey [6:58]
07 Stolen Glances [4:35]
08 Needless To Say [5:33]
09 One More Thing [5:03]
10 Moon Over Carolina [6:00]
- Further Reviews