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The Smooth Side of Soul

Najee

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Album Review

Najee's 2012 release The Smooth Side of Soul features more of the saxophonist and flute player's laid-back, romantic, and funky contemporary jazz. Included are such standout cuts as Najee's collaboration with R&B vocalist Phil Perry on the club-ready "Just to Fall in Love," as well as the quiet storm track "First Kiss," featuring keyboardist Jeff Lorber. Similarly engaging are such cuts as the slick chillout number "Perfect Nites" and the foot-tapping "Fu Fu She She," showcasing keyboardist Chris "Big Dog" Davis. This is truly soulful pop-jazz that should appeal to any fan of instrumental R&B and especially longtime Najee fans.

Biography

Born: New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the best-selling instrumentalists of the late '80s to mid-'90s, Najee has been a consistent favorite in the quiet storm and so-called "smooth jazz" markets. Often compared to Kenny G, George Howard, and Dave Koz, the New Yorker has been greatly influenced by Grover Washington Jr. — although he hasn't been nearly as adventurous. Heavily produced and quite formulaic, Najee's albums have tended to avoid improvisation and strive for commercial radio airplay above all else. Debuting in 1987...
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The Smooth Side of Soul, Najee
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Contemporaries