By now the pandemic fatigue is real. At this time last year, our biggest concern was not being able to get enough toilet paper and Lysol wipes. A year later, there is a mad dash to get vaccinated in the hopes that we can restore some semblance of a normalcy we once knew.
We know music is a universal language with extraordinary capabilities to provide a sense of peace and relaxation, and lately, I have developed a new-found appreciation for smooth jazz music. I’ve always been open to all types of genres, but there has been something particularly therapeutic about the soulful sounds of a saxophone just pulsating through your senses. I liken the feeling to a very ‘healthy’ high.
I honestly feel like there was a greater purpose for me only now re-discovering and appreciating this genre backed by the talent of incredible jazz artists. With all the seemingly never-ending chaos around us, being able to drown my senses in soul-purifying tunes that originated from a time when life was certainly a lot simpler, feels like more than just a coincidence.
I accidentally stumbled across Najee while streaming music on my phone recently. After a song I played ended, it randomly looped into another song, and when I heard it, I was like ‘hey, this is beautiful.’ The song was Sapphire by Najee, a song released in 1998 (which, by the way, I cannot believe was over 20 years ago!) I was immediately drawn in by the soulful, hypnotic sounds of this hidden gem.
The opening of the song reminded me of a crisp summer morning with the sun shining and birds chirping. The album title, Morning Tenderness, was certainly fitting.
Needless to say, I was hooked and I wanted more and came to know more about Najee’s incredible talents. For anyone who has already known of his work for years, I tend to live under a rock, but as they say, better late than never, right? 🙂
Another favourite track of his that I’ve had on repeat is the song Day by Day from his 1988 album of the same name. I personally couldn’t believe how old the song was. Music truly is timeless. I certainly don’t think I would have ever appreciated this type of calming and smoothing music if I had heard it any sooner in life. The combination of saxophone, piano, guitar and warm, subtle vocals have a way of really uplifting you and taking your mind away from the noise of present-day struggles.
Some more songs by Najee I’ve been loving are:
Have You Ever Loved Somebody – 1995
I Adore Mi Amor – 1992
Sweet Sensation – 1988
…and countless more! I’ve barely made a dent in exploring his huge collection of music so I’m sure I’ll be adding many more to a list of favourites.
Also, I was delighted to find out that he continues to do his thing to this day with several albums to his name – his latest release being as recent as 2019.
It’s interesting how your taste in music can evolve over time. It’s definitely a reflection of your current stage in life and how you feel mentally. I never thought I would be so fixated on a genre known for being ‘elevator’ or ‘hold’ music!
In my trip down the wonderful, beautiful lane of smooth, soulful jazz, I discovered another very talented artist named Norman Brown who has some amazing hits like That’s the Way Love Goes, It Costs to Love, and After the Storm just to name a few.
Fun fact: I used to play the alto saxophone many moons ago in elementary school. If I do say so myself, I wasn’t half bad. *insert sheepish grin* I hope to get my own sax one day to reinvigorate a super enjoyable activity, but in the meantime, I will continue to relish in the beauty of the instrument through the talents of the great saxophonists of today.
So for anyone looking for another form of ‘escape’ from the non-stop rollercoaster ride that we continue to be on, no matter what your personal musical preference is, I highly recommend exploring the wonderful world of smooth jazz to catapult your mind into a world of instant relief and relaxation.
Much love and blessings.