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Kenneth Gorelick (born June 5, 1956), better known by his stage name Kenny G,
is an American saxophonist whose fourth album, Duotones, brought him
"breakthrough success" in 1986. Kenny's main instrument is the soprano
saxophone, but he also plays the alto and tenor saxophone and the flute
Kenny was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and first came into contact
with a saxophone when he heard someone performing with one on The Ed
Sullivan Show. He learned how to play by practicing along with records
(mostly of Grover Washington, Jr.), trying to emulate the sounds that
he was hearing. At Franklin High School he failed to get into the jazz
band when he applied, although was accepted the following year when he
tried again. He also played for his high school golf team, a sport
which he had loved ever since his older brother, Brian Gorelick,
introduced it to him when he was ten years old.
Kenneth Gorelick began his career as a musician when he acquired his
first professional job as saxophone soloist for Barry White's Love
Unlimited Orchestra in 1976 at the age of 20, while studying for a
major in accounting at the same time. After he graduated from the
University of Washington 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.
In 1982 Kenny G signed with Arista Records as a solo artist, after
being heard by the president of the label, at that time Clive Davis. He
has released many solo albums and collaborated with various artists
including Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Natalie Cole, Steve Miller
(which marked the only time he appeared on a rock and roll album) and
Aretha Franklin. Influenced by the likes of 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 shifted over five million copies in the
U.S. alone. His fifth 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.
Gorelick's 1999 single, “What A Wonderful World” stirred
controversy among the jazz community regarding the overdubbing of Louis
Armstrong's classic recording. A common criticism was that such a
revered recording by a musician known especially for improvisation
should not be altered. The "duet" was produced by David Foster who also
recorded the Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole duet. Gorelick stated at
the time,"...I didn't want to spoil the original. I said, 'Whatever we
do, if we're not going to make it better, let's throw it away and we
won't do it.' So (Foster) guaranteed that it would be better, and I
hope that we did a good job on it." Some columnists countered the
criticisms suggesting such a recording would bring classic jazz to a
wider audience. Nevertheless, Kenny G fans considered the live
performance of this duet with Armstrong on a video taped backdrop a
"show stopper." Additionally, Gorelick has stated that all the proceeds
from this single go to his Kenny G Miracles Foundation which "funnel(s)
the money to charities to purchase musical instruments and to
supplement funding for the arts in schools."
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.
Kenny G is currently married to wife Lyndie Benson, with whom he has two children – Max (aged thirteen) and Noah (aged nine). They have expressed an interest in saxophone and piano respectively.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Official site: www.kennyg.com
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