What can you say about Najee? He has been on the scene for four decades, and his records and guest appearances never seem to disappoint. Full disclosure: We are STILL jammin' the Day By Day album, and one of our favorite Najee features is on the track Sarah, Sarah by Jonathan Butler.
In 2022, Najee releases Savoir Faire, in which he explores some different styles.
“I gave up worrying about disputes between genres a long time ago,” states Najee. “Duke Ellington said there are only two kinds of music: good music and bad music. So based on that I do not worry. People seem to forget that in the early days of jazz, the music was designed to make people dance. All of your experiences live inside you and they come out in your music. I just want to make good music and make it accessible for people to enjoy.” Fait Accompli on Savoir Faire!
The project enlists some heavyweights in music, which includes Alyson Williams, Frank McComb, Chris “Big Dog” Davis, Barry Eastmond, Robert Herbert & Adam Hawley, among others. This is a 10 track set, so let's go through each selection.
Review - 'Savoir Faire' by Najee
The set begins with Dr. Dolittle. This is one of those groovy jazz tracks, where Najee is just cool with it. You also have an additional horn section that gives the track more depth. Frank Wilkins is featured with a piano solo.
Luna is up next, and it features Mark Harris II on piano and keyboards. Najee is working the flute on this one, and it has a really nice pace to it. The piano solo really compliments the flute play.
Valentine Love is a remake of the classic Norman Connors/Michael Henderson track. We almost forgot about this song. This is a nice update, with Alyson Williams on vocals, and Chris "Big Dog" Davis on keyboards. Najee is running that sax. He really does his thing on smooth R&B tracks. The original is from a time when slow jams were SLOW JAMS.
Happiness (A Felicidade) is an Antonio Carlos Jobim track, but it has been done several times over the years. This is a 2020 version, and you have to respect the flow here. It features the Bossa Nova Noites & Curtis King, Jr. on vocals. This is the kind of song that will make you want to get to a Jazz club...pronto!
Isla Hermosa is a Barry Eastmond production, and we truly have a winner here. Great performances by Najee, Eastmond on keyboards, Freddie Fox on guitar, Al Turner on bass, and Jay Williams on Drums. I had to call everyone out to make sure they all get their props.
Adam Hawley is featured in Hurricane. This is another Barry Eastmond production, and we get a little funky with it. Once again, we have a horn section to supplement Najee's sax, and this one will surely make you move.
Bottom To The Top is next. It features David Dyson on bass and keyboards. The bass really stands out here, and Najee does double duty with both sax and flute. We always talk about songs you need to hear live, and this is one of those types of tracks.
Modern Lovers is a Terri Lyne Carrington and Brenda Russell composition, and Frank McComb is on vocals, giving us a Stevie Wonder vibe. The song was recorded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, so that explains the groove. We just may need an entire album of THIS.
We have a Paul Brown production in Bounce. Brown shows up on many albums...I think he may be really good! Bounce is what you will be doing as you listen to the track. Gotta love it.
The set concludes with the title track, Savoir Faire. This track should appear on your 'candlelight' playlist. You know, the sensual grooves. All of the instrumentation just fit together here.
Najee is back in a BIG way with this effort. Musically, we get some nice variation, and there are several tracks that we love. We are sure you will favorite at least four songs on the album.
You can stream the album on your favorite service.