Smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G has been arguing the case for a place on more 'traditional jazz' radio for his new album 'Brazilian Nights'.
Saxophonist Kenny G (Gorelick) is known throughout the world, especially in China where he is a superstar, but closer to home he feels a little left out. He’s the biggest selling instrumental artist and one of the architects of the so-called ’smooth jazz’ sound. For the uninitiated this could be described as a noticeably more commercial and musically safe version of the more searching and often intentionally discordant side of jazz and is usually predicated on soul music.
Recently though, Kenny has been hankering to be heard on the more ‘traditional jazz’ radio stations in the US and beyond. He believes his latest album ‘Brazilian Nights’ is deserved of a place between iconic and classic jazz artists like John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis and Stan Getz.
Unfortunately for Kenny though for some radio and its listeners he has pigeon-holed his sound to the point where cynicism has grown, with a large helping of irony, and you don’t have to go too far to find those who find his sound insincere and over commercial.
In a recent interview he said of radio programmers, “If they don't play this, it's only because they must not like me and what they think I stand for. This is traditional jazz. It's played very authentic and I did my homework. If they listen and go 'ugh' then they're not listening to it. They're just looking at my face and going 'ugh.'"
To be fair to Gorelick his music is very well received by a great many people and on the latest album his choice of material is befitting of a more traditional format, steering away from pop covers towards standards like ‘Corcovado’ and ‘Girl From Ipanema’ as well as his own compositions.
He also has a desire to break into movie scoring, thus far without success. "There's a door that says, 'You can do movie scores.' I've gone up to the door and I've knocked. Nobody answers. Sometimes it cracks open and I go, 'Hey do you remember me?' And they go, 'Yeah, yeah, we'll work with you.' Then they slam the door."