- Kenny G would be at the top of their list if the Jazz Police started conducting midnight raids on musicians who offended them.
The 65-year-old saxophonist has been dubbed the best-selling instrumentalist of all time, with his songs providing the aural backdrop to so many weddings, shopping malls, and dental office visits that one music critic described him as “part of the musical furniture of American culture.”
The Jazz Police, self-appointed enforcers of jazz purity, have referred to Kenny G’s music as “safe sax” and compared it to takeout Chinese food “an hour later you’re hungry again”. On the other hand, Pat Metheny, a jazz guitarist, has called Kenny G’s style “lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy out-of-tune noodling.”
However, a new documentary film by Penny Lane may cause some of Kenny G’s detractors to reconsider. “Listening to Kenny G,” which debuted this week on HBO Max, provides unexpected glimpses into the songs and private life of the skinny, White guy who became the face and hair of smooth jazz.
The film implies that Kenny G, who has just released his first album in six years, is underappreciated and a groundbreaking artist who strives for perfection and innovation in his unique way.
Outside of music, the documentary raises more significant questions. For example, it delves into racial prejudice and the art vs. commerce debate, as well as some parts on what it takes to be successful in any field. ON THE OTHER HAND, Kenny G’s dedication to his craft is unlikely to impress his opposition.
His music has been described as bland and soporific, like an Ambien aural hit. Nevertheless, it has inspired numerous Internet memes, and shows such as “Saturday Night Live” and “South Park” have parodied his “Snooze Jazz.”
When jazz critics are asked to evaluate Kenny G’s music, some of the funniest scenes in the documentary occur. So many squirms like toddlers at the dentist, with apprehensive expressions on their faces as Kenny G, hits as “Songbird” plays in the background.
When a well-known jazz and pop music critic, Ben Ratliff, was asked what he thought of Kenny G’s music, he struggled to opinion.
Source: CNN News