Kenny G is often left wanting respect for his brand of instrumental music, which is usually lumped in with smooth jazz, even though it’s really not. So the saxophonist wants his next album to show he’s got soul — literally.
G (né Gorelick), who’s sold more than 48 million albums since starting his solo career in 1982, began his career with Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra and the Jeff Lorber Fusion. So, after sidestepping into Latin-flavored music on last year’s “Rhythm & Romance,” he’s got his eye on “a real R&B record,” though he confesses that “I don’t know what that’s going to be yet.”
“Mainly it’ll have a lot of groove to it, so not necessarily the same as records I’ve done in the past,” says G, 53, who has four songs already done and hopes to work with Babyface and the hitmaking team of Terry Lewis and Jimmy “Jam” Harris. “There might be a couple of vocal tracks on there. It’s really just taking place now.
“I like the idea of mixing it up a little bit. I think people that like my music are fans of R&B as well, and I’m confident radio’s going to like what I have. I don’t write for that reason, but I know they will be well-received.”
G’s other major focus these days is his own line of saxophones — soprano, alto and tenor, in both professional and student models. His reputation, of course, is a helpful calling card, but he says that it’s still “taken me a few years to really fine-tune” the instruments, and there’s still plenty of hard work ahead.
“It takes time to develop a brand and have people have confidence in your brand,” G explains. “We’re not affiliated with anybody. I like having total control over how the saxophones turn out. There’s a couple companies that have the corner on the market, and we’re excited to give them some competition.
“I think everyone’s confident they make a great horn. But I’m out there promoting myself and my career and everything, so I can get a little more exposure than maybe what they’re doing.”
Kenny G performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 23) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $35 and $48.50 pavilion, $15 lawn with a $44 lawn four-pack. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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