It is rare that an artist releases a debut album that garners such critical acclaim that it not only receives a Best New Artist award and nominations for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album and Best World Music Album but is also compared to veteran super stars like Yanni and John Tesh. However, these honors are a reality for SAJJAD. Although, he is quick to give much-deserved credit to fellow Canadian John Jamieson at Soundhouse Studios who not only co-produced the album, but also became an invaluable collaborator on many levels. SAJJAD creates much of his music on piano and synthesizers, which can easily produce the sound of just about any instrument. Yet, he felt it important to augment his creations with real instruments played by the best musicians he could find, More than fifteen top players and highly respected industry professionals lent their talents to the project, giving it a "buoyant collaborative energy and lending an impressive credibility."
The music charts a course through various passages - a bit of Celtic influence via Uillean pipes and Irish whistle, an ancient Chinese instrument, Flamenco guitar, a soaring soprano sax melody, and sections of richly orchestrated string section and keyboards, all anchored by solid drum beats providing momentum. This blending of diverse instruments and motifs turns out to be a trademark of SAJJAD's music and highlights his seriously impressive skills as a composer and arranger. A lot of SAJJAD's compositions have a cinematic quality to them.
This is music that will invite repeated listening and I found that every time I would go back and listen to a track again, I would hear something I hadn't heard before. I have to give a lot of credit to SAJJAD and his collaborator John Jamieson for the remarkable job they have done in weaving all these diverse elements and musical talents into a sonic tapestry of epic proportion. Where I Belong is an extremely ambitious undertaking that signals the arrival of a talented musician, composer, arranger, and performer that I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more of.