“swanky, fun and upbeat” – All About Jazz


“My life has been a series of pivotal events and circumstances that have gotten me to where I am,” reflects the fearless chart-topping contemporary jazz pioneer Najee. In a business where trends and artists come and go, the genre-bending saxophonist’s staying power is a rare blessing. The Grammy and NAACP award-winning musician’s genuine love for connecting with people, coupled with his consummate musicianship and sheer passion for music, has made him one of the brightest stars in contemporary jazz for close to four decades. The saxophonist has collaborated with Prince, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, and Herbie Hancock, among others.

When Najee was just a kid, he had the great fortune of meeting two iconic jazzmen: Sonny Rollins and Charles Mingus. The introductions, which left lasting impressions, further led him down his musical path. “When I was about 14, I was playing on a school instrument and everyone in the house was covering their ears and saying ‘stop, stop!’ My mom noticed that it was my thing and my release and so she bought me my first saxophone,” recalls Najee. “As I began to develop on my instrument, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Yusef Lateef, and Hubert Laws became influences.” 

As Najee honed his skills, he had the blessing of being mentored by iconic saxmen Jimmy Heath and Frank Foster and flutist Harold Jones. As an industrious and hungry young musician, Najee had the good fortune of coming through Dr. Billy Taylor’s now legendary Jazzmobile program. While a student at the New England Conservatory (where both Najee and his brother attended) he studied jazz with luminaries George Russell and Jaki Byard. In the late 80s when Najee finished school and returned to New York, he landed a gig with Chaka Khan along with his brother, guitarist Fareed. 

Recommended for Fans of Gerald Albright, Boney James, Herbie Hancock and Billy Cobham. 

Learn More: https://www.najeeofficial.com/


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