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Najee: Rising Sun

Soprano saxophonist Najee has made it to his 10th solo CD, which means he must be doing something right. That doesn’t mean he’s doing anything out of the ordinary. With Najee you’ll get un-obnoxious R&B: slow and midtempo jams expertly played and polished to perfection. The market for this used to be huge, and although it isn’t anymore, Najee keeps plugging away and it works for him.

There’s something about singer-songwriter John Mayer that instrumental artists love, because everyone seems to be covering his tunes. Najee does it with “Clarity,” and it may tell you something that it’s the hookiest cut on the project. A few tunes do stand out from the tepid: “Brazilian Affair” for its wistful tone and dreamy la-la-las by vocalist Timmy Maia; “Child at Heart” for Najee’s flute playing that’s right at home in its subtle acoustic setting; and “Moody’s Mood for Love,” just because it’s rare to hear anyone mess this classic up.

Originally Published