The Hot Zone spent the evening aboard the fantastic Hornblower Infinity Cruise Ship, located at Pier 40 Houston Street, on the Hudson River’s Westside Highway, in New York City. The Smooth Jazz Cruise is hosted by Marquee Concerts, who produces some of the World’s finest contemporary Jazz music around, every Thursday night throughout the Summer. Jazz lovers can go to enjoy some of the finest Jazz music around.
As The Hot Zone took in the breathtaking sights of the beautiful Hudson River, the highlight of the evening was listening to two-time Grammy Award nominated Saxophonist and Flutist, Najee, who gave his audience an amazing performance. You wish you were there? Well you are in luck because The Hot Zone obtained incredible footage and photos of the performances, the musicians and breathtaking sights, while cruising along the beautiful Hudson River.
Iconic radio personality, Lenny Green, the evening host from 107.5 WBLS, had his audience in stitches, with his comedic wit. As the audience rallied in absolute delight, one knew it was going to be an evening to remember. You could see by the crowd’s excitement that they were ready to let their hair down and have a good time. Lenny welcomed Najee to the stage, as the crowd roared with eager excitement. One could feel the warm energy that spread throughout the room. Warmth that one cannot describe. It was incredible. Imagine a concert event at the Barclays Center in New York City; now envision that energy on a cruise ship, with the most incredible Smooth Jazz music around. People were showing their approval through whistling, clapping, screaming and yelling, as Najee walked onto the stage. It was an electrifying time.
Born in Greenwich Village in New York City and raised in Jamaica, Queens, Najee is an international pioneer in the music industry. He has collaborated with some of the biggest icons of music. Icons like Prince, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Herbie Hancock. He has two Platinum and four Gold albums. Over the years, he has received numerous awards for his craft, including the Soul Train Music Award, for best Jazz Artist, NAACP Image Award and the Trumpet Award. He serenaded the crowd with his rendition of classic R&B soul songs such as, Sweet Love, People Make the World Go Round, and several other classic hits. Before each of Najee’s performances, he shared with his audience, personal stories and experiences, which led to the origination of some of his songs and collaboration with other famous and influential artist, which he stated were part of his success. Najee stated that one of the most memorable moments in his music career, was working with George Duke, a renowned musician in his own right was very influential during his career journey. Unfortunately, George Duke passed away in 2013 but as Najee explained, will always be in his heart as a person who saw a young man, with a talent that he believed needed to be shared with the world.
As the audience listened, they were mesmerized with Najee’s talent. He played songs from his newly released album called, The Morning After, A Musical Journey. It was so exciting to sit there and listen to his amazing melodic music.
The musical piece, Shinjuku, was written in honor of George Duke, his colleague and dear friend. Najee expressed his experienced as very memorable and one he will always cherish.
Accompanying Najee’s performance that evening, were guitar player/singer Chuck Johnson, and Saxophone player/ singer, Pete Belasco. Chuck Johnson is a jazz musician from North Carolina. The crowd loved his charm and soulful vocals. He enchanted the audience with his incredible talent!
Pete Belasco is a renown jazz – pop musician. He began playing piano at a young age. He attended Rutgers University and the Hartt Conservatory, where he studied sax. In a tragic turn of events, Pete had a terrible boating accident and broke both of his hands. He was unable to play for many months and ventured into singing. Belasco referred to the accident as “a watershed experience because it forced him to develop his songwriting and singing skills”. Ultimately, he was signed by A&R Executive Guy Eckstine of Verve Records, and his success in the music industry skyrocketed. He released his debut albums, Get It Together and Deep.
Recently, Belasco released his new album “Lights On”.
At the end of the show, everyone had the opportunity to meet Najee and Belasco, and received autographed t-shirts and copies of their albums. I truly enjoyed meeting the talented musicians and I must say, their albums are exactly what you need to soothe your spirits, and get you in a relaxed mood, after a long hard day.
The Smooth Jazz Cruise was a great experience. This is an awesome way to spend your summer nights, away from the hustle and bustle of New York City. It’s perfect for a romantic evening with your significant other or just hanging out with friends and family. In addition, you can see your favorite jazz musicians perform live!
THZ would like to give a special thanks to Smooth Jazz Cruise, produced by Marquee Concerts, for an amazing evening of music, delicious food, and great drinks, aboard the Hornblower Infinity. Want to go on the Smooth Jazz Cruise? Click HERE to enter TheHotZone’s sweepstakes for your chance to win (2) free tickets!