Kenneth Bruce Gorelick (born June 5, 1956), better known by his stage name Kenny G, is a Grammy winning American, adult contemporary and smooth jazz saxophonist. His fourth album, Duotones, brought him breakthrough success in 1986. Kenny G is the biggest-selling instrumental musician of the modern era, with global sales totaling more than 75 million albums.
Kenny G was born in Seattle, Washington to a Jewish family and first came into contact with a saxophone when he heard someone performing with one on The Ed Sullivan Show. He started playing the saxophone in 1966 when he was 10 years old. He learned how to play under the direction of local trumpeter Gerald Pfister and by practicing along with records (mostly of Grover Washington, Jr.), trying to emulate the sounds that he was hearing. His first saxophone was a Buffet Crampon alto.
Kenny G attended Whitworth Elementary School, Sharples-Jr High School, Franklin High School, and the University of Washington, all in his home town of Seattle, Washington. When he entered high school, he failed on his first try to get into the jazz band, but tried again the following year and earned first chair. In addition to his studies while in high school, he took private lessons on the saxophone and clarinet from Johnny Jessen, once a week for a year.
He was also on his high school golf team. He had loved the sport ever since his older brother, Brian Gorelick, introduced it to him when he was ten years old, which is the same age he was when he started playing the saxophone.
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, 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, Michael Bolton, Celine Dion and Withney Houston. 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 #1 on the Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs chart in April 1997.
Kenny G's 1999 single, "What A Wonderful World" was criticized regarding the overdubbing of Louis Armstrong's classic recording. A criticism was that a revered recording by an artist such as Armstrong known especially for improvisation should not be altered and especially not by a musician such as Kenny G whose contributions to jazz were already in question. Some columnists countered the criticisms suggesting such a recording would bring classic jazz to a wider audience. Kenny G fans considered the live performance of this duet with Armstrong on a video taped backdrop a "show stopper."
Kenny G has recorded some Chinese songs, such as "Jasmine Flower" (茉莉花) or "The Moon Represents My Heart" (月亮代表我的心). 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.
- Kenny G
- G Force
- The Moment
- Rhythm & Romance
- Heart & Soul
The Best Of Kenny G
- Forever in Love
- By the Time This Night Is Over
- The Moment
- Fall Again
- Heart and Soul
- Choise Of Love OST Dying Young