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Hardbopjazz

Kenny G Explains Why He Did a Documentary About How Much People Hate Him

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I won't bother, I never have found slate to be a useful website, pretty much as useless as the Milquetoast Maestro...

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I started. But had to get off at the part that told me I had to take his music seriously even if I don't like it

 

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Thanks for posting, but I'll pass. Prefer to remain blissfully ignorant of Mr. G. Years ago I read an article by Pat Metheny (who I like) criticizing Kenny G, and decided to explore no more of the subject.

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 "Penny Lane’s documentary Listening to Kenny G, which premieres on HBO on Thursday as part of its Music Box series, does. Lane, who has previously made movies about American scam artists and Satan worshippers," I think this says it all.

I read a bit more, and this really seems like a less interesting version of this book, Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste (33 1/3): Carl Wilson: 9780826427885: Amazon.com: Books from the 33 1/3 series which has the subtitle A Journey to the End of Taste.

In other words, not only is it a questionably pseudo-contrarian premise, it's been done before and probably better.  Have I overthought this enough now?

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Midway thru the other day, I accidentally stumbled on what I guess was the debut showing on HBO, and watched about 5 minutes worth. It was a part that focused on Pat Metheny’s reaction to Mr. G overdubbing Louis Armstrong.

We had just watched a brilliant HBO documentary about Gordon Parks (highly recommended) that we’d DVR’d days before. So I flipped over to the station live to scroll thru our cable-tv grid to see what else I might record later - and low and behold, Metheny’s polemic was being delivered by a chorus of mostly anti-G voices.

So on that basis, anyway, I set the DVR to record the thing later this week — but who knows when I’ll get around to watching it.

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I loved that scene in the Wayne's World movie when Garth visited Hell.  He was in a big room surrounded by white bread people with empty faces and big smiles listening to Kenny G.  

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The “challenge to snobs” is… not crazy

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26 minutes ago, Guy Berger said:

The “challenge to snobs” is… not crazy

You are allotted x hours of concentrated music listening in your lifetime.  How many of those do you want to spend analyzing Kenny G records?  

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36 minutes ago, felser said:

You are allotted x hours of concentrated music listening in your lifetime.  How many of those do you want to spend analyzing Kenny G records?  

0.

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38 minutes ago, felser said:

You are allotted x hours of concentrated music listening in your lifetime.  How many of those do you want to spend analyzing Kenny G records?  

0.  But we’ve now had 2 Kenny G threads on this board in one month! People here loooove Kenny G content, he should collect royalties

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Kenny G is okay. Dated quiet storm music with a jazz veneer. I resent it when people joke about him as representing jazz the genre, but even that doesn't happen that much any more. I'd rather my dentist put on Kenny G than popular"classical" radio.

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4 hours ago, Rabshakeh said:

I'd rather my dentist put on Kenny G…

5wpe8e.jpg

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8 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

5wpe8e.jpg

This has gone far over my head 

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I like Kenny G as a person. People take him way more seriously than he takes himself. I've always wondered if it was jealously or just that he's the easy target. He had a running appearance on the Le Batard Show that was great. I often think people dismiss Kenny G before they even listen to what he has to say, this interview being the example. His discussion about recording vs live playing is an interesting philosophy. I don't actually listen to his music but his philosophy on artistry is fascinating and honestly commendable. 

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Mr. G might be a nice enough and inoffensive guy, generally speaking.

I think most of his detractors wouldn’t be bothered by him so much if what he played wasn’t termed “jazz” in any way, shape or form.

If smooth jazz was, instead, just (and only ever) called instrumental pop — I suspect people would still roll their eyes at the music itself, but no more than plenty of music that offends their (and my) sensibilities and tastes.

It’s the casual association of his music with jazz that wrangles so many, admittedly myself included — though the older I get, the less I give a shit.

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I agree with that Rooster and so does Kenny. 

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I watched the documentary. I am far from a fan of his music, but I try not to judge it or the millions of people that enjoy it. If anything, I just say that it is outside my personal listening preferences. From watching the documentary it does not seem like he considers himself a "jazz" musician and the Kenny G phenomenon is as much a result of forces outside of him such as marketing and fortunate circumstances as anything else.

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4 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Mr. G might be a nice enough and inoffensive guy, generally speaking.

I think most of his detractors wouldn’t be bothered by him so much if what he played wasn’t termed “jazz” in any way, shape or form.

If smooth jazz was, instead, just (and only ever) called instrumental pop — I suspect people would still roll their eyes at the music itself, but no more than plenty of music that offends their (and my) sensibilities and tastes.

It’s the casual association of his music with jazz that wrangles so many, admittedly myself included — though the older I get, the less I give a shit.

He is the highest selling jazz artist of all time, because his music is mindlessly labelled "jazz," which is simply wrong. It is instrumental pop - the fact that he would piece together individual notes from different takes is even more proof of what has been obvious from his first successful album. 

Yet I would bet that maybe 75% of those who own his records own nothing else that gets categorized as "jazz", and the rest who own other "jazz" own only the smooth variety.  This is the problem with the G-Spot.

The fact that "critics" have apparently determined in the last 20 years that he is great, and those who criticize know nothing, only proves the ongoing degradation of "criticism" in this day and age.

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17 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

Yet I would bet that maybe 75% of those who own his records own nothing else that gets categorized as "jazz",

You'd lose that bet b/c these folks definitely have a copy of KOB and/or Time Out. 

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The NYT article is really nothing. At least the Slate article prints (most of?) the interview itself. I see where Lane is coming from (and the fact that she released "footnotes" of a prior documentary is pretty interesting in terms of a filmmaker's approach). I don't think threads like this are necessarily so much about Kenny G or whatever artist, but more about the defense and protection of what we consider to be jazz, or maybe who/what should be the mascot(s) representing that art form. When you get down to it, Kenny is just another guy making music and selling records. You either like it or you don't, and you choose to either vocalize your opinion about it or not.

Happens across all genres I guess. MC Hammer got this type of treatment in the 90s from the hip hop community and Drake is receiving it today. Nickelback has gotten it from the rock crowd and Garth Brooks got it from country fans. I'd actually like to see this documentary more for how the subject matter is treated. Maybe I'll check out Kenny's new album, who knows. 

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1 hour ago, Dub Modal said:

You'd lose that bet b/c these folks definitely have a copy of KOB and/or Time Out. 

Even if I lowered the percentage, I do not think this is the case at all.  Kenny G is not  the "look at my sample jazz CD I own" avatar that KOB or Time Out (or Ken Burns comps) are.

Kenny G is the "here's my pretty instrumental CD I have, doncha love him" CD.

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Well, FWIW I just listened to KG's Standards and it's pretty boring to me. I actually wouldn't call this smooth jazz at all. Figured maybe it was due to the theme chosen as I've always associated him with SJ, so I went back to his 2015 Brazilian Nights album and nope! Another miss. Pretty saccharine stuff actually. 

Quiet storm instrumentals/smooth jazz have groove/R&B elements that aren't there in these Kenny G albums. I get why people may dig some songs of his, but definitely not my thing. I don't think he'd fit in very well on that Smooth Jazz cruise...

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11 minutes ago, Dan Gould said:

Kenny G is the "here's my pretty instrumental CD I have, doncha love him" CD.

I always took it as "here's what gets my lady/ladies to think I'm sensitive and/or vulnerable and that just makes my life SO much easier CD".

And there's nothing wrong with that, because that's not about music, that's about human relations. Those things only sometimes are the same thing! #godilovemesomevenndiagram

 

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