WELCOME TO SMOOTH JAZZ NEW YORK, YOUR HOME FOR CONCERTS AND SMOOTH JAZZ CRUISES
Spirit Cruise Lines, Pier 61 at Chelsea Piers
August 5th, 6:30PM
August 5th, 9:30PM
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New York’s favorite summer jazz series continues with…
Najee is one of contemporary jazz’s true pioneers. Creating a fresh and pulsating “rhythm and jazz” dynamic in the early days of the smooth jazz format, the native of Jamaica, Queens, New York is often compared to Kenny G, George Howard, and Dave Koz.
Najee is a versatile saxophonist—whose first two recordings, 1986’s Grammy nominated Najee’s Theme and 1988’s Day By Day, went platinum—inspired the whole urban vibe that took over the instrumental world throughout the ’90s. His subsequent releases, Tokyo Blue (1991) and Just an Illusion (1992), went gold and earned him Soul Train Music Awards for Best Jazz Artist in 1991 and 1993. Following Share My World in 1994, Najee paid brilliant homage to another one of his favorite R&B influences, Stevie Wonder, on 1995’s Najee Plays Songs From the Key of Life: A Tribute to Stevie Wonder. He also stretched his straight-ahead jazz muscles on a tour and follow-up live recording (Live at the Greek Theatre, 1994) with a superband featuring Stanley Clarke, Larry Carlton and Billy Cobham. He later signed to Verve for one album, 1998’s Morning Tenderness, which went to #1 on the contemporary jazz charts.
For Najee, the late ’90s were marked by extraordinary international experiences, from performing at Nelson Mandela’s birthday celebration in South Africa to playing as a special guest of President Clinton at the White House at an event honoring President Jerry Rawlings of the Republic of Ghana. Over the years, Najee has worked with numerous pop legends, from Quincy Jones to Patti Labelle and Lionel Richie, but creatively and artistically, no other career highlight has quite matched his incredible association with Prince, with whom he recorded and toured for three years at the beginning of the current decade.
Najee later returned to the recording studio in 2003 to record Embrace, which featured two other longtime heroes, vibist Roy Ayers and gospel legend BeBe Winans. He joined the Heads Up International label with the release of My Point of View in the summer of 2005. The album’s critical and artistic success helped him score an NAACP Image Award in 2006 in the category of Outstanding Jazz Artist. Rising Sun, his most recent album, was released in 2007. Always the innovator, Najee blends various shades of straightahead as well as contemporary jazz, classic R&B and even indie rock on this album.
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