Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kenny G - Kenny G

Kenneth Bruce Gorelick came on to the American adult contemporary and smooth jazz scene in the early 1980's under his stage name of Kenny G. In the early 1970’s, while still in high school, he worked with Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra.

On August 1st of 1982, he released his first album. The self-titled Kenny G went to number 10 on the US Jazz charts and eventually went Gold. Today we will look at this record as part of its thirtieth anniversary celebration.

Side one opens with "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy", a bouncy, jazz tune written by Joe Zawinul in 1966 and first performed by Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. The mix of saxophone and synthesizers make this one work for me.

"Here We Are" was written by percussionist Jeff Lorber and guitarist Marlon McCain. Greg Walker provides the vocals on this funky R&B groove.

The danceable "Stop and Go" keeps up with the strong bass grooves that perfectly compliment Kenny G’s saxophone.

From the album The Long Run, "I Can't Tell You Why" was a hit single for the Eagles in 1980. This instrumental cover works fairly well, with the saxophone replacing the vocals.

Side two starts with "The Shuffle", an up-tempo track with a light, airy sound.

On "Tell Me", Kenny switches things up by playing an alto flute and then switching over to saxophone in the later portions.

"Find a Way" is next.

"Crystal Mountain" is a short, barely forty seconds in length piece. It spotlights Kenny and his nimble fingers solo on his saxophone.

"Come Close" closes on this debut album.

Kenny G is a light, easy-listening record that is perfect for that background soundtrack for a dinner with friends or relaxing on a Sunday morning. The instrumental tracks are up-tempo and positive.

The CD release sports a slightly different cover. For the blog post, I thought the original vinyl jacket was the way to go as it has that fun, 80's feel to it.

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