Songs from the Key of Life

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Throughout his career, saxophonist Najee has generally performed crossover music that mixes R&B, jazz, and pop. This particular date is one of his strongest and most jazz-oriented, a well-conceived tribute to Stevie Wonder. Najee (heard on soprano, flute, alto, and tenor) plays instrumental versions of the music from Wonder's famous Songs From the Key of Life album, plus several other notable Wonder songs. Assisted by such players as keyboardists George Duke, Ronnie Foster, and Herbie Hancock; guitarist Phil Upchurch; and a top-notch horn section, Najee creates fresh renditions of 21 Stevie Wonder tunes. Highlights include "Love's in Need of Love Today," "Sir Duke," "Knocks Me off My Feet," "If It's Magic," and a medley of "All Day Sucker" and "Easy Goin' Evening." Throughout the memorable set, Najee shows that he can be a strong jazz improviser while still remaining accessible. Recommended.

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