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  •   Najee (2014)

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    Flautist/saxophonist Najee was born in Greenwich Village and grew up variously in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

    It's difficult to keep up with the number of musical circles Najee moves in. He's collaborated with everyone from Quincy Jones to Stevie Wonder to Herbie Hancock. And every venture, it seems, is taken on with passion and fearlessness.

    A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Najee was mentored by Frank Foster and Jimmy Heath, learning also from Jaki Byard and George Russell, having previously come through Dr Billy Taylor's Jazzmobile project. Hitting NYC professionally in the early 1980s, he and his guitarist brother, Fareed (now his manager), were lucky enough to land a gig with Chaka Khan.

    Thereafter, Najee really hit his stride, maintaining it throughout the '80s and '90s: smooth jazz was coming in and he was right there—gold records everywhere, touring with Prince, performing in South Africa at the birthday party of Nelson Mandela, and playing at the White House.

    You can't put this versatile creative player solely in that "smooth jazz" box because Najee is far too big for it.
    Pick Artist Album Song Label
    # 1 Bob Mintzer In the Moment Straight Ahead Art of Life
    # 2 Harvey Mason With All My Heart Without a Song RCA
    # 3 Jon Irabagon The Observer The Observer Concord
    # 4 Stanley Clarke, Larry Carlton, Billy Cobham, Deron Johnson and Najee Live at the Greek Minute by Minute Epic/Sony
    # 5 Michael Brecker Wide Angles Brexterity Verve
    # 6 Kenny Garrett Pursuance: The Music of John Coltrane Giant Steps Warner Bros
             
    Book George Soros, "The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Financial Markets"
             
    Luxury Item "My Bose headset and my iPad or an iPod"
    Castaways by date
    Chris Amberger
    23 Jun
    Gerald Beckett
    01 Sep
    Buzz Brooks
    28 Apr
    Jarrett Cherner
    16 Jun
    Kev Choice
    30 Jun
    Anat Cohen
    28 Jul
    Natalie Cressman
    10 Feb
    Hershey Felder
    07 Apr
    Mitchell Feldman
    18 Aug
    Aaron Germain
    06 Jan
    Robin Gregory
    17 Feb
    Tamir Hendelman
    13 Oct
    Kasey Knudsen
    17 Mar
    Matthew Montfort
    26 May
    Dan Montgomery
    06 Oct
    Andrea Motis
    21 Jul
    Ray Obiedo
    10 Mar
    John Pizzarelli
    25 Aug
    Sandi Poindexter
    24 Mar
    David Rogers
    24 Feb
    Eric Whittington
    29 Sep
    George Winston
    04 Aug
    Lizz Wright
    09 Jun
    Jason Yeager
    02 Jun