Listening to Kenny G
- 1h 37m
An examination of the most popular instrumentalist of all time, Kenny G, and why he is polarizing to so many.An examination of the most popular instrumentalist of all time, Kenny G, and why he is polarizing to so many.An examination of the most popular instrumentalist of all time, Kenny G, and why he is polarizing to so many.
Couple of comments: this documentary is part of HBO's Music Box series, whose earlier documentaries include the Woodstock 1999 one and "Jagged" (about Alanis' breakout album and tour). This latest entry is directed by Penny Lane, whose previous documentary was 2019's intriguing "Hail Satan?". Lane wants to get to the bottom of why Kenny G., the most successful instrumentalist of all time (more than 75 million albums sold), is also one of the most ridiculed (and worse), at best a mere punchline. Lane shows us how none other than Clive Davis (CEO of Arista) was convinced that Kenny G would set the world on fine, and how the Kenny G sound would be the foundation of the so-called Smooth Jazz or Jazz Lite radio stations that exploded in the early 90s. The film team gets unfettered access to Kenny G., and he himself wants to please the film team (and us) more than anything. When jazz guitarist Pat Metheny issues a scorching essay (more or less declaring Kenny G as the devil incarnate), it says more about Metheny than it does about Kenny G. I personally don't care much for Kenny G's music but millions of people clearly do. This documentary does a good job showing us the person behind the musician, if not the caricature that he has become for lots of people.
"Listening to Kenny G" premiered on HBO a few weeks ago, and is now available on HBO On Demand and HBO Max (where I caught it the other night). If you like the prior documentaries in the ongoing Music Box series, regardless of what music you like or dislike, I readily suggest you check this out, and draw your own conclusion.
- Dec 12, 2021