Kenny G Holiday Show
The Venue at Horseshoe Hammond
Kenny G's career started with a job as a sideman for Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra in 1973 while 17 and still in high school. He continued to play professionally while studying for a major in accounting at the University of Washington in Seattle and graduated magna cum laude. He played with the funk band Cold, Bold & Together before becoming a credited member of The Jeff Lorber Fusion. He began his solo career after his period with Lorber.
Kenny G signed with Arista Records as a solo artist in 1982, after label president Clive Davis heard his rendition of ABBA's "Dancing Queen". He has released many solo albums and collaborated with various artists including Andrea Bocelli, Whitney Houston, Peabo Bryson, Aaron Neville, Toni Braxton, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Natalie Cole, Steve Miller (which marked the only time he appeared on a rock and roll album), Dudley Moore, Lee Ritenour, The Rippingtons, Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, Frank Sinatra, Smokey Robinson, Bebel Gilberto, George Benson, Chante Moore and Aretha Franklin. Influenced by the likes of saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., his own albums are usually classified as smooth jazz.
He received success quite early on, with both G Force and Gravity, his second and third studio albums respectively, achieving platinum status in the United States. These sales were topped by his fourth studio album, Duotones, which sold over 5 million copies in the U.S. alone. His sixth studio album, Breathless, became the number one best selling instrumental album ever, with over 15 million copies sold, of which 12 million were in the U.S. He broke another record when his first holiday album, Miracles, sold over 13 million copies, making it the most successful Christmas album to date.
In 1997, Kenny G earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for playing the longest note ever recorded on a saxophone. Using circular breathing, Kenny G held an E-flat for 45 minutes and 47 seconds at J&R Music World in New York City. That same year, Kenny G's song "Havana", from his album The Moment, was remixed by noted DJs Todd Terry and Tony Moran and released promotionally to dance clubs in the U.S. These mixes went to No.1 on the Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs chart in April 1997.
Kenny G's 1999 single, "What A Wonderful World" was criticized in its overdubbing of Louis Armstrong's classic recording. The primary criticism is that a revered recording by an artist such as Armstrong, known especially for improvisation, should not be altered, especially by a musician whose range and depth of understanding of classical jazz was already in question. Some columnists counter the criticism by suggesting that Kenny G's recording would expose a wider audience to classic jazz, though the overall response to his recording tended to be negative.
Kenny G has recorded some Chinese songs, such as "Jasmine Flower" or "The Moon Represents My Heart". His music is noticeably popular in China. His recording "Going Home" is often played at closing time at public places or at the end of classes at schools. Mass transit systems in Tianjin and Shanghai play these songs when trains approach terminus stations.
As of 2003, Kenny G was named the 25th-highest selling artist in America by the RIAA, with 48 million albums sold in the USA as of July 31, 2006. In 1994, Kenny G won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition for Forever in Love.
In October 2009, Kenny G appeared with the band Weezer in an AOL promotion of their album Raditude by soloing during "I'm Your Daddy". Kenny G said he knew nothing of Weezer before the performance. Though some music critics thereby rejoined in the common criticism of his work, the unlikely combination was fairly well received by AOL's magazines Spinner.com and Popeater.com.
In February 2011 Kenny G and his music were featured in a Super Bowl XLV ad for Audi called "Release the Hounds." Kenny G later starred in a short film detailing his time as Head of Riot Suppression for the Luxury Prison.
Recently, he made an appearance in the music video for pop star Katy Perry's single Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) as Uncle Kenny. On the October 8, 2011 episode of Saturday Night Live, Kenny appeared with his soprano sax along side alternative rock band Foster the People as they performed their song "Houdini."
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