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Najee
R&B


One of the best-selling instrumentalists of the late '80s to mid-'90s, Najee has been a consistent favorite in the quiet storm and so-called "smooth jazz" markets. Often compared to Kenny G, George Howard, and Dave Koz, the New Yorker has been greatly influenced by Grover Washington Jr. -- although he hasn't been nearly as adventurous. Heavily produced and quite formulaic, Najee's albums have tended to avoid improvisation and strive for commercial radio airplay above all else. Debuting in 1987 with Najee's Theme, Najee was an immediate hit in the new adult contemporary (NAC) market. Similiar pop/urban jazz dates like 1988's Day By Day and 1990's Tokyo Blue did nothing to jeopardize his niche on smooth jazz radio. On stage, Najee takes some risks and stretches out more -- in fact, he has been quoted as saying he'd like to record a straight-ahead jazz or hard bop album eventually. But financially, Najee has had little incentive to pursue such a project. Morning Tenderness was released in 1998. Alex Henderson

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