Pat Metheney on Kenny G.

Via, this:

He had major rhythmic problems and his harmonic and melodic vocabulary was extremely limited, mostly to pentatonic based and blues-lick derived patterns, and he basically exhibited only a rudimentary understanding of how to function as a professional soloist in an ensemble – Lorber was basically playing him off the bandstand in terms of actual music.

But he did show a knack for connecting to the basest impulses of the large crowd by deploying his two or three most effective licks (holding long notes and playing fast runs – never mind that there were lots of harmonic clams in them) at the key moments to elicit a powerful crowd reaction (over and over again). The other main thing I noticed was that he also, as he does to this day, played horribly out of tune – consistently sharp.

Then something happened to change this view of Kenny G as a limited, but lucky in a professional sense, player:

But when Kenny G decided that it was appropriate for him to defile the music of the man who is probably the greatest jazz musician that has ever lived by spewing his lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling, wimped out, fucked up playing all over one of the great Louis\’s tracks (even one of his lesser ones), he did something that I would not have imagined possible. He, in one move, through his unbelievably pretentious and calloused musical decision to embark on this most cynical of musical paths, shit all over the graves of all the musicians past and present who have risked their lives by going out there on the road for years and years developing their own music inspired by the standards of grace that Louis Armstrong brought to every single note he played over an amazing lifetime as a musician. By disrespecting Louis, his legacy and by default, everyone who has ever tried to do something positive with improvised music and what it can be, Kenny G has created a new low point in modern culture – something that we all should be totally embarrassed about – and afraid of. We ignore this, \”let it slide\”, at our own peril.

I for one shall be redoubling my boycott of all things Kenny G.

6 comments on “Pat Metheney on Kenny G.

  1. So that’s Kenny told then. Now, who’s going to tell Pat that his playing is about as exciting as dry rot?

  2. I have no space in my life for Pat Metheny, EXCEPT when it comes to admiring this fabulous takedown of the G-ster (which has been around for a long time, but like Louis, it’s timeless in its rhetorical freedom and magisterial authority.)

  3. Is this news?

    Kenny G recorded “What A Wonderful World” is 1999 and appeared onstage with Louis Armstrong in a video backdrop. This was widely criticised at the time.

    See it here

  4. Isn’t Kenny G one of those artits whose recordings one can only purchase via those discount bulk collections one sees advertised in the breaks between daytime television talkshows?

  5. Agree wholeheartedly with Tank (2) The problem with the Metheny statement (…shit on the graves etc) is that Louis did that very thing himself by recording such a dreadful piece of crap as “W.World” in the first place – as you may have noticed, it’s a loose adaptation of “Twinkle,twinkle little star”,with a syrupy orchestra and no discernible points of interest. “One of his lesser tracks”? Hah! It’s even worse than “Hello Dolly” – Louis did some great work, but after the feds got to him it was downhill all the way to the bank.Why give Kenny G a hard time about it? His only offence is perpetuating crap in the interests of making money – hardly a unique position in today’s music scene.

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