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Mind Over Matter

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
Along with Kenny G, Richard Elliot, and the late George Howard, Najee was one of the smooth jazz saxophonists who jazz critics loved to hate back in the late '80s and early '90s. Najee received one scathing review after another in those days; some were from jazz purists and bop snobs, while others were from more broad-minded reviewers who appreciated Grover Washington, Jr. Najee's main influence, Ronnie Laws, and David Sanborn but felt that Najee's work was too contrived, too formulaic, and too rigid for its own good. But in 1995, Najee pleasantly surprised listeners with his engaging Stevie Wonder tribute Songs from the Key of Life; instead of simply playing Wonder's ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
Along with Kenny G, Richard Elliot, and the late George Howard, Najee was one of the smooth jazz saxophonists who jazz critics loved to hate back in the late '80s and early '90s. Najee received one scathing review after another in those days; some were from jazz purists and bop snobs, while others were from more broad-minded reviewers who appreciated Grover Washington, Jr. Najee's main influence, Ronnie Laws, and David Sanborn but felt that Najee's work was too contrived, too formulaic, and too rigid for its own good. But in 1995, Najee pleasantly surprised listeners with his engaging Stevie Wonder tribute Songs from the Key of Life; instead of simply playing Wonder's gems note-for-note, Najee seriously interpreted them and demonstrated that he could, in fact, be a legitimate soul-jazz improviser of the Washington/Sanborn/Laws/Stanley Turrentine/Eddie Harris variety when he put his mind to it. Songs from the Key of Life was Najee's crowning achievement, and it demonstrated that instead of automatically dismissing everything he does as mindless fluff, it's best to judge him on an album-by-album basis. That brings us to 2009's Mind Over Matter, a smooth jazz disc that often plays it much too safe but does have its moments. The automatic-pilot approach doesn't serve Najee well on forgettable radio-oriented tracks such as "Love You a Lifetime," "Sweet Summer Nights," and "Love Forever and a Day," but Najee who is heard on soprano sax, tenor sax, alto sax, and flute fares much better on "One More Thing" and "Stolen Glances" both of which unite him with keyboardist/producer/composer Jeff Lorber. As a rule, smooth jazz recordings that Lorber is a part of manage to balance commercial and artistic considerations and avoid sounding like elevator music; so not surprisingly, "One More Thing" and "Stolen Glances" have commercial appeal but are edgier, meatier, and more substantial than a lot of smooth jazz. Other decent tracks on this mostly instrumental CD include the dreamy "Needless to Say" which sounds a bit like something Lonnie Liston Smith would do and the funky but laid-back "We Gone Ride" an urban
eo-soul number featuring singer Eric Benet. Mind Over Matter is very much a mixed bag, but overall, it's superior to early Najee releases like 1988's Day by Day and 1990s Tokyo Blue -- although Songs from the Key of Life is still the best CD to acquire if one is making his/her first Najee purchase.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/25/2009
  • Label: Heads Up
  • UPC: 053361315627
  • Catalog Number: 3156
  • Sales rank: 42,189

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Love You a Lifetime (3:39)
  2. 2 Sweet Summer Nights (4:12)
  3. 3 Mind Over Matter (4:39)
  4. 4 Love Forever and a Day After (4:52)
  5. 5 We Gone Ride - Eric Benét (5:25)
  6. 6 The Journey (6:57)
  7. 7 Stolen Glances - Jeff Lorber (4:34)
  8. 8 Needless to Say (5:32)
  9. 9 One More Thing (5:03)
  10. 10 Moon Over Carolina (6:00)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Najee Primary Artist, Flute, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Gary Taylor Vocals, Background Vocals
Dwight Sills Guitar
Jeff Lorber Synthesizer, Guitar, Electric Bass, Keyboards
Mel Brown Bass
John Grant Acoustic Guitar
Pino Palladino Bass Guitar
Victor Williams Percussion
Eric Benét Vocals, Background Vocals
Will Brock Piano, Keyboards
Alvin S. White Guitar
Tony Moore Drums
Mike Parlett Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Darren Rahn Keyboards, Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, fender rhodes
Frank Selman Electric Guitar
Jason Rahn Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Will Holton Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Roderick Bonner III Synthesizer, Drums, Keyboards
Richi Valentino Bass
Myron McAdory Guitar
Darryl Woodson Piano, Keyboards
CJ Mercer Bass
Andrew Lipman Trombone
Daniel Powell Drums
John Papenbrook Trumpet
Kentric Morris Drums
Lomon Andrews Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Gary Taylor Composer, Programming, Producer
Najee Composer, Producer, Engineer
Jeff Lorber Composer, Producer, Engineer
Mel Brown Engineer
John Grant Engineer
Eric Benét Composer, Producer
Will Brock Composer
Demonté Posey Composer, Programming, Producer, Engineer
Darren Rahn Composer, Producer, Engineer, drum programming
Kevin Sucher Engineer
Jason Rahn Engineer
Will Holton Composer
Will Holton Composer, Producer, Engineer
Roderick Bonner III Programming, Engineer
Darryl Woodson Composer
Chabra Mercer Composer
Kentric Morris Composer
M. Scott Graphic Design
Andreo Heard Composer
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