MMMM: Najee #atozchallenge

I know that today’s official theme for MMMM is "Build a playlist for us to feel what makes life magical to you." It’s also N day for the A to Z Challenge, and I have the perfect choice based on my theme of "words that contain the letter J." And, the way I saw it, the music of Najee and other musical artists makes life magical to me. So, we have another twofer!

This is from Najee’s biography on Spotify, written by Matt Collar for Rovi:

Born Jerome Najee Rasheed in 1957 in New York’s Greenwich Village, Najee was raised in Jamaica, Queens where he started out on the clarinet at age eight. By his teens he had switched to the saxophone, inspired by his burgeoning interest in jazz, especially artists like John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, and Grover Washington, Jr., as well as Ronnie and Hubert Laws. Along with playing in school, he was a member of Dr. Billy Taylor’s Jazzmobile program, studying with Frank Foster, Jimmy Heath, and Ernie Wilkins. He also honed his flute skills at the Manhattan School of Music’s Preparatory Division where he took private lessons with New York Philharmonic Orchestra flautist Harold Jones. After high school, he spent two years touring with the band Area Code, performing at military bases as part of the USO. He then joined vocalist Ben E. King’s backing ensemble during the summer of 1978. Coming off the road, he briefly attended New York’s Bronx Community College before enrolling as a performance and composition major at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied alongside his brother, guitarist/producer Fareed Rasheed. However, restless to perform, the brothers eventually left school and hit the road touring with singer Chaka Kahn.

As a solo artist, Najee launched his career with 1986’s Najee’s Theme, which hit number one on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. The effort found him embracing the sound of the soprano sax, an instrument well-suited to his distinctive blend of soulful jazz and R&B. Audiences responded and the album earned a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental R&B Performance. That same year he also joined singer Freddie Jackson on tour and returned to his solo work in 1988 with Day by Day. Najee’s brother Fareed produced his third album, 1990’s Tokyo Blue. Well-received, it landed on top of the contemporary jazz charts, achieved gold status, and picked up a Soul Train Award for Best Jazz Album.

I have the songs as a playlist here, if that’s what you prefer, but here are ten by Najee, courtesy of Spotify, which built the playlist.

Eye 2 Eye

Betcha Don’t Know

All I Ever Ask (featuring Freddie Jackson on vocals)

Day By Day

Sweet Love

Is It The Way (featuring Eric Roberson on vocals)

Let’s Take It Back (featuring Incognito)

Najee’s Theme

Tokyo Blue


I’ll be back with O tomorrow, if you’re here for A to Z. If you’re here for MMMM, that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for April 17, 2023.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by Marie, Cathy, Alana, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

21 thoughts on “MMMM: Najee #atozchallenge

  1. John,

    What a wonderful introduction! The name sounds familiar so I can’t say with for sure that I haven’t heard him. This was a joy to listen to this morning. I love soothing instrumental music. Najee is super talented and oh so smooth! Now, I’m just going to let the music do it’s magic while I do other things. Keep on A2Zing for a boogietastic time. Thanks for joining the 4M party, my friend!


  2. He would not be one I would pick up a CD wanting to hear more but he is one talented man. I often think what propels a person to become a full time musician or artist. I bet his parents were hoping he would become a dentist


You can use Markdown in your comments. Thanks for your comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s