June 17, 2024
Mind Over Matter
Heads Up – 2009
Ray Redmond

The title of the new Najee release Mind Over Matter was inspired by the late Miles Davis’ improvisational approach to songwriting, particularly toward the end of his career, focusing more on the groove and less on the songwriting itself. On first listen the reaction is “Wow, Najee came back smoking.”

We Gone Ride is my favorite – funky from the start with some smooth vocals by Eric Benet. Sweet Summer Nights fulfills your smooth-sax cravings almost instantly with it’s smooth lines and rolling groove. Mind over Matter is my favorite ‘highway track’ right now.

Stolen Glances (written by Smooth Jazz Legend Jeff Lorber) is freshly funky. The Lorber stamp is all over this one, soon as he starts to play you know who it is, and you know why the track is so tight. The two team up for more Lorber flavor on One More Thing. Putting Jeff Lorber on your CD is usually a recipe that will ensure you a few good, smooth tracks.

In the case of Mind Over Matter, I think the CD would have been grooving either way. Lorber’s presence surely helps, but it’s Najee’s style and ability to keep the grooves coming that solidify his position as one of the most enduring and talented performers in the smooth jazz genre.

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