Thursday, August 12, 2010
DEFENDING KENNY G
My jazz friends will tease me because I really like your new album "Heart and Soul". At heart, my buddies are jazz purists. I used to be one, but my musical taste has grown. I'm more open to smooth jazz and other forms of contemporary music. Frankly, Kenny, my jazz friends despise smooth jazz, and they accuse you of being a phony.Have you ever professed to be a jazz musician? If so, I want to read the articles and listen to the interviews where you made that claim.
I bet you could play be bop, hard bop and free jazz if you wanted, but you chose to play the kind of music a broad audience can enjoy. You've sold millions of albums. That should count for something. On "Heart and Soul," you play melodic instrumental music. In my book, that's okay, and you do it better than any other smooth jazz player. Your collaboration with the R&B carooners Robin Thicke and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds are the best tracks.
Kenny, your laid-back style blends perfectly with Thicke's falsetto. "Letters from Home" and "One Breath" are enticing slow jams. You never deviate from your mellow and uncomplicated style. My jazz purist pals will never understand that.