Kenny G. In-depth Biography
Kenny G.} has long been the musician many jazz} listeners love to hate. A phenomenally successful instrumentalist whose recordings make the pop} charts, G.}'s sound has been a staple on adult contemporary} and smooth jazz} radio stations since the mid-'80s, making him a household name. Kenny G.} is a fine player with an attractive sound (influenced a bit by Grover Washington, Jr.}) who often caresses melodies, putting a lot of emotion into his solos. Because he does not improvise much (sticking mostly to predictable melody statements), his music largely falls outside of jazz}. However, because he is listed at the top of "contemporary jazz"} charts and is identified with jazz} in the minds of the mass public, he belongs in this book.
Kenny Gorelick} started playing professionally with Barry White}'s Love Unlimited Orchestra} in 1976. He recorded with Cold, Bold & Together} (a Seattle-based funk} group) and freelanced locally. After graduating from the University of Washington, G.} worked with Jeff Lorber Fusion}, making two albums with the group. Soon he was signed to Arista}, recording his debut as a leader in 1982. His fourth album, Duotones} (which included the very popular "Songbird"}), made him into a star. Soon he was in demand for guest appearances on recordings of such famous singers as Aretha Franklin}, Whitney Houston} and Natalie Cole}. Kenny G.}'s own records have sold remarkably well, particularly Breathless}, which has easily topped eight million copies in the U.S.; his total album sales top 30 million copies. 1994's holiday} album Miracles}, and 1996's Moment} continued the momentum of his massive commercial success. He also recorded his own version of the Celine Dion}/Titanic} smash "My Heart Will Go On"} in 1998, but the following year he released Classics in the Key of G}, a collection of jazz standards} like "Round Midnight"} and "Body & Soul,"} possibly to reclaim some jazz} credibility.
Faith: A Holiday Album} was released that same year, followed up by a limited edition re-release of the 1997 Greatest Hits} disc. 2002 found Kenny G} dipping into tropical territory with Paradise}, which featured guest appearances by Brian McKnight} and Chante Moore}. This was followed by a music video collection, another holiday album, entitled Wishes}, and, in 2003, a second greatest hits collection, Ultimate Kenny G}. Perhaps in a bid to shake up his discography a bit, Kenny G} released At Last…The Duets Album} in 2004, which featured "duets" with LeAnn Rimes} and Chaka Khan}. Two years later, smooth jazz}'s king of the soprano sax returned to a purely instrumental approach on the brassy, big band-inspired albums Holiday Collection} and I'm in the Mood for Love}. 2006 was also the year the artist was dubbed the best golfer in music by Golf Digest}, beating out Vince Gill} for the number one spot. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide