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Is Kenny G even jazz?

hardbat

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Back in the early 1970s, Kenny G was an awarded alto soloist in what some consider the top high school jazz band in the country (Franklin High School). I saw that band at the Reno Jazz Festival. At that time, he played surprisingly like Eric Dolphy, very adventurous (yes, there are recordings of this!).

After graduating from high school, his playing took a 180 and he became the elevator king. I will give him kudos for allegedly continuing to hire some of his high school buddies in his band through the years. He also seems happy with and proud of his music, and I always think that being true to oneself is an artistic virtue.

Is it jazz? I'm inclined to give it a reluctant yes.
 

equipmentdork

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By releasing this, Kenny G reveals himself to be both a hack AND a narcissist. Just to have the brass balls to mix yourself into a Louis Armstrong classic places him in his own very special class of awful. This isn't jazz or even music; it's a mortal sin.



Dan
 

xtranoise

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If you boys want to discuss real talent, then I nominate (for vocals AND guitar) Mr. Slim Whitman. If we are staying purely instrumental, then it's Zamfir on the Pan Flute. Where are the 80's music heroes and their TV ads when you need them?!?!?!
 

charlie's_good_tonight

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After seeing him live a few years ago, I have much more of an appreciation for him and his super tight band. I don’t necessarily want to listen to it in the car, but I was entertained by some really great players. So who cares what you call it or what others think. I respect it.
Not a fan of the music, but have heard he takes good care of his bands. Well-paid, well-fed, and first-class accommodations on tour. Maybe one of the few ways to lure good players to his kind of material, but always appreciate hearing about a generous band leader.
 

Lamontsdad

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Not a fan of the music, but have heard he takes good care of his bands. Well-paid, well-fed, and first-class accommodations on tour. Maybe one of the few ways to lure good players to his kind of material, but always appreciate hearing about a generous band leader.
If he takes care of his players, much is forgiven IMO.
 

Bri6366

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Back in the 80s my uncle managed Miles Davis. After I got out of the Marines, I had the opportunity to go backstage when Miles was playing in Philly. Kenny G was on prior to Miles. I wasn't familiar with him and wasn't really paying much attention to the performance. After his set, he was standing backstage talking with some people, bandmates, etc. I walked up and he was commenting on how great the sound was in the venue. It was where the Philly Orchestra played at the time and he liked the vibe of the place. I was just some random Joe jumping in on the conversation, but he seemed like a nice guy.
 

1988fxlr

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This thread prompted a wikipedia search of Kenny. Apparently he was a part of Love’s Unlimited Orchestra as a teenager.
 

old_K_ride

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someone I know knew guys on G's band...Kenny would play Giant Steps & Countdown on soundchecks...

but saying that...I saw KG for FREE in 1989...a packed to the gills concert...after 45 minutes I had to leave...I couldn't get the Michael Brecker Group out of my head whom I saw the night before.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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bigbonzo

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Well it's not that far-fetched, Bolton put his pipes to good use prior to becomming the syruppy ballad king...

From his Wiki: Early in his musical career he focused on hard rock, with his band Blackjack once opening for heavy metal artist Ozzy Osbourne on tour.
I thought the rest of it was entertaining:

Early in his musical career he focused on hard rock, with his band Blackjack once opening for heavy metal artist Ozzy Osbourne on tour. It was rumored that in 1983 Bolton auditioned for, but was denied, the lead vocalist position with Osbourne's former band, Black Sabbath.[8] Bolton later stated this was untrue, saying "That rumor about me auditioning for Black Sabbath was only a rumor, I don't know how on earth it started."[9][10]
 

JimmyM

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I don't think he takes himself too seriously:

And yeah, if he treats his band well I certainly wouldn't turn down the gig!!
Do I think they make as much as Kenny? Absolutely not ;). But they have all been there quite a long time, he’s very encouraging about their own projects and lets them sell CDs at shows, and they all have pretty hefty reputations and don’t seem like they’re hurting for cash by any means. That’s pretty darn good if you ask me.
 

Lamontsdad

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It sounds like ol' Kenneth Bruce Gorlick is a pretty good guy. I respect him as a player, and obviously as many dissenters as there are about his tunes, the lovers outweigh us by a fair bit. He is doing what most of us dream about: getting paid well to play music.

But I have to say that he is a very watered down version of jazz. That's fine.
 

xtranoise

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I don't think he takes himself too seriously:

And yeah, if he treats his band well I certainly wouldn't turn down the gig!!
That is hilarious! I love it when someone can poke fun at themselves.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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So I was chatting with a local player last night. He is world renowned for making horns of all kinds. A master craftsman, truly, and obviously a lifelong horn player.

I asked him one question: "Is Kenny G jazz, yes or no?"

Bottom line was no, and he doesn't know how to play!

He did bring up the fact that a couple years ago, somebody collapsed at the AT&T golf tournament and Kenny was playing in the Pro Am. He got on his knees and performed CPR and saved the guy's life. True story. We agreed he's definitely a nice guy.....
 

doubleroll

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I personally don't listen to his music but how many Jazz artists make bank like KG? And seems from what I read he treats his band members with respect so good on him for finding a way to make a good living playing music. He can certainly play his instrument so all good Jazz or not so Jazz…Maybe smooth Jazz? LOL…
 


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