Published Aug 25, 2017There aren't any groundbreaking surprises on Najee's 27th full-length studio effort — and that's not an insult. Poetry in Motion offers the sumptuous mix of jazz and R&B that Najee has perfected over his 30 years and counting career.
What's always elevated the venerable saxophonist and flautist from the musical wallpaper also known as smooth jazz is an assured sense of melodic style, not to mention a keen selection of collaborators. Dedicated to Prince and Al Jarreau, Poetry in Motion won't disappoint longtime fans. "We'll Be Missing You" is a wistful bossa nova featuring a warm vocal courtesy of Will Downing, and Maysa's creamy phrasing on the easygoing "Don't Make Me Wait" fits hand in glove with Najee's sax.
Instrumentally, the mirror ball aura of disco throwback "Let's Take it Back" featuring Incognito is highlighted by a lively tenor sax, while the casual "Stratosphere" showcases Najee's signature soprano sax — together, they comprise the album's finest cuts. If the Latin-influenced "Noche Romantica" verges toward the soporific, Barry Eastmond's confident production keeps the groove flowing. Overall, Poetry in Motion is a fine addition to the Najee oeuvre. (Shanachie)