Artist Playlists

About Najee

Saxophonist Jerome Najee Rasheed captured a holy union of R&B and jazz with a string of chart-topping solo albums from the ’80s through the 2000s, helping define an era of smooth fusion with his supple melodies and funky grooves. Born in New York City in 1957, Najee first picked up the clarinet when he was eight years old and switched to jazz sax after falling in love with his mom’s Miles Davis and John Coltrane records. He honed his craft in his teens and twenties both in the classroom and onstage—including, alongside his brother Fareed, as a member of Chaka Khan’s touring band—and he rose to fame just as smooth jazz was going worldwide with his 1986 debut album, Najee’s Theme. Najee often set even his breeziest phrasings to a strong beat, bringing sensuality and verve to jams like 1990’s new jack-leaning “Cruise Control” and 1998’s “Room to Breathe.” Over the years, he’s also proven himself a capable sideman and collaborator, flexing his chops and showing off his rich, full-bodied tone in performances alongside the likes of Herbie Hancock and Prince.

New York, NY, United States
November 4, 1957
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