Friday Flashback: Kenny G.

Before he became the world’s blandest musician so saccharine you need an insulin shot just to listen to him, this cat was one of the funkiest musicians around, chockful of soul, with some to spare.

That’s right…I’m talking about Kenny Gorelick, aka Kenny G.

Soul,” you say? Yes. Soul. In spades (!!!). What happened to it, I don’t know. Maybe he had soulposuction once he became majorly mainstream because it’s all gone now. But the man that used to be? Ooh wee, he was one of the funkiest mofos to ever put his lips to a horn and blow!!!

He cut his teeth with the greats, starting with Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra

…and doing an excellent stint with Jeff Lorber Fusion.

(that’s him above with the white arrow pointing at him)

His best work, in my opinion, was when he was produced by one of my very favorites, Kashif

Kashif

…one of the greatest R&B artists and hitmakers of the 80’s. Under Kashif’s masterful influence and supervision, Kenny G delivered the soulful, funky classic album, G Force

…which is simply one of the best R&B/pop instrumental joints ever recorded.

Together, the two of them made R&B/smooth jazz awesomeness like this (with Barry Johnson on lead vocals):

and this cover of Kashif’s hit, “I’ve Been Missin’ You“…

*Sigh*

Anyway, those days are long gone and all we’re left with is a pasteurized shadow of the musician that used to be. Oh well, no use crying over spilled funk. At least we have the memories, the music, and YouTube, so let’s take a trip back to the days when soulful rhythm ran richly through his veins (damn, that was kind of alliterative). Herewith, from Duotones

…the 1986 cd that made him a superstar, is a live version of one of my favorite cuts, “Sade.”

This next song, “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love),” is from the same album. It’s nice and funky and should get you moving in your seat and ready for the weekend.

Happy Friday!!!

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5 thoughts on “Friday Flashback: Kenny G.

  1. >lol…it is interesting how kenny g was funky at first, then after "duotones", his popularity soared, then it kinda fell like bird frozen in mid-air by a jack frost wind. i think it was more or less that "blandest" that hurt him. i think he got off track in musical taste and the rest they say is history.i was told by a buddy of mine, allan, who's real big into jazz music, that kenny's "monotone" style irks many jazz purist, but when he "piggyback" louis armstrong's "it's a wonderful world", who many revered as the "father of jazz music"…kenny g became like the "frankenstein of jazz music". jazz notables like pat methany (who lo's post about on fri. flashback) had a public detest of kenny's work and led a brigade of artist to publicly denounce him. it was okay for natalie cole to digital remake "unforgettable" with her dad, nat king cole (notice HER dad)…but what kenny g did to louis armstorng's work…it considered sacrilege.

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  2. >Sorry for going back through what are now "Archives" of your blog, but here is another post I relate to. Kenny G. actually came from the Seattle area. When I was a Freshman at U of W, he played in the college Jazz Stage Band. Nights he played sax with a local R&B dance band called…. are you ready for this… "Cold, Bold and Together!" I used to compliment him on his playing all the time, telling him he was as good as Grover Washington, Jr. – who was my God of Sax at that time! How can we forget "Mister Magic" in 1974?

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  3. >I'm now delving back into the "Archives" and here is another one I relate to. Kenny G. grew up in the Seattle area (Jeff Lorber was from Portland) and when I was a Freshman at the U of W Kenny played in the Jazz Stage Band. AT night he played with a local R&B dance band called…. are you ready for this…. "Cold, Bold & Together!" I used to compliment him on his great playing all the time, telling him he was as good as Grover Washington, Jr., who was my God of Sax back then! How can we forget "Mister Magic!" BTW, I have every album you show in this post, and have the Barry White and Jeff Lorber albums in Vinyl!

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