Born in the Greenwich Village in New York City and raised in Jamaica, Queens, Najee’s musical pursuits began in grade school. “As a kid I was into the R&B and Jazz music of my time,” he shares. “I familiarized myself with different kinds of music all the time.
As I began to develop on my instrument, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Yusef Lateef and Hubert Laws on flute were some of the artists that inspired me. As an industrious and hungry young musician, Najee had the good fortune of coming through Dr. Billy Taylor’s now legendary Jazzmobile program.
An alum of the New England Conservatory of Music, Najee was mentored by jazz giants Frank Foster and Jimmy Heath as well as classical maven and flutist Harold Jones of the New York Philharmonic. He has collaborated with everyone from Prince and Quincy Jones to Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Herbie Hancock. He has also had the distinction to perform for Presidents Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela and made appearances on The Tonight Show and Good Morning America.
Najee is a master storyteller. Whether the debonair multi-instrumentalist is engaged in a verbal or musical conversation, his alluring charisma has a way of seducing you into his world. A quadruple threat who is equally adept on soprano, tenor and alto saxophones and flute, Najee’s technical agility, grace, compositional prowess, unbridled passion, fearless genre bending and superior musicianship have made him one of the most sought after musicians of his generation. In a business where trends and artists come and go, Najee’s name is synonymous with innovation, consistency and the best in contemporary jazz.
With two Platinum and four Gold albums under his belt, he is an icon whose musical vision spawned an entire new genre by fusing the music close to his heart (R&B and jazz). Three decades later he is showing that he is not done yet!
“I have always tried to maintain consistency when it comes to music I’ve recorded throughout the years,” confides Najee. “As an artist I have been fortunate to attract an audience very early in my career that has followed and grown with me. My challenge has always been to record music that I enjoy playing while at the same time meeting the requirements that I believe my audience would like to hear. I am always looking for something to help me continue to grow as a musician.”