Album:The Best Of Najee
Smooth jazz sax player Jerome Najee Rasheed has been very successful since Sweet Love was his debut single in 1986. I'm not a big smooth jazz fan because it's too watered down for me. But it's a big market so I don't fault Najee for going that route. He was born Nov. 4, 1957 in New York City. His guitarist brother Fareed Abdul Haqq was Najee's manager and part of his band for the early part of his career. Najee's father died when he was four years old so he was raised by his mom. He learned to play clarinet as a child and he listened to his mom's jazz records. He learned tenor sax in the Jazzmobile program from Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster and Ernie Wilkins. After graduating high school, Fareed suggested that Najee use the soprano sax as his main instrument. Najee has acknowledged that Grover Washington Jr. was the main reason he went the smooth jazz route. Najee toured with Chaka Khan in the early 80s and his solos got the attention of veteran producer Charlie Elgart who had worked with other smooth jazz artists. Najee signed with Capitol Records. Najee's Theme was his 1986 debut album and his cover of Anita Baker's Sweet Love was the first single. It was very successful and it earned Najee a Grammy nomination. Najee recorded for Capitol until 1995. His final album was Najee Plays Songs From The Key Of Life: A Tribute To Stevie Wonder produced by George Duke. This budget comp was released in 1998 and it covers Najee's Capitol recordings. After one album for Verve Forecast, Najee recorded several albums for Heads Up. He currently records for Shanachie and his latest CD You, Me and Forever was released earlier this year. Najee's CDs top the jazz charts consistently so he obviously has a loyal fanbase. And he's always on tour as he is now. I just don't think it's real jazz. Here's Najee performing Sweet Love 1991.