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      K  E  N  N  Y      G


Born Kenneth Gorelick, June 5, 1956, Seattle, Washington

President Bill Clinton spoke for a lot of Americans in the early Nineties when he called Kenny G one of his favorite jazz musicians. Most jazz purists have dismissed the saxophonist -- Kenny G, that is -- as a purveyor of soulless fluff. Nonetheless, Kenny G’s smooth, mellow "contemporary jazz" style has made him one of the most commercially successful instrumental recording artists in history.

Gorelick took up the saxophone as a child, after seeing the instrument played by a soloist on The Ed Sullivan Show. Although he started on alto sax and learned to play tenor as well, the soprano sax eventually became his signature instrument. At 17, he played in Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra, and in the mid-Seventies he became the only white musician in a Seattle-based funk outfit called Cold, Bold, and Together. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Washington, with a degree in accounting, Kenny G spent a few years playing in Oregon’s Jeff Lorber Fusion Band, then signed with Arista Records as a solo act in the early Eighties.

G’s first three albums sold respectably for instrumentals, but it was his fourth, Duotones, that proved the charm, reaching #6 on the pop chart and spawning the #4 single "Songbird." Silhouette followed its predecessor into the Top Ten (#8, 1988), and includes a couple of singles that did well on the R&B and adult-contemporary charts, notably "We’ve Saved the Best for Last," on which Smokey Robinson sang. Breathless (#2 pop, #2 R&B, 1992) featured vocals by Peabo Bryson and Aaron Neville. G has also recorded with R&B divas Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, and Natalie Cole. In 1993 the saxophonist was the only non-singing pop star to appear on Frank Sinatra’s Duets album.


SOME NOTABLE ALBUMS:

1982 -- Kenny G (Arista)
1984 -- G Force
1985 -- Gravity
1986 -- Duotones
1988 -- Silhouette 1989 -- Live
1992 -- Breathless


 

 

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