Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My New Hero

I know I read this on another blog, but this is a new article that I found yesterday so I wanted to post some snippets to highlight the fact that Kenny G is my new hero--standing up to Clive and recording an album of his original work.

The G-man saw no point in following other older artists like Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow down the well-worn path of playing cover tunes. So he arranged an amicable divorce from Arista Records in order to return to making original music.

"All my success in the past ... have always been my original compositions played the way that I play and people seem to connect with that," said Kenny G, in a telephone interview from his Malibu, California, home. "I lost sight of that a little bit and I'm glad to be going back to my roots and re-establishing the integrity that I've had in my music.

His new CD "Rhythm & Romance" -- his debut for Concord/Starbucks Entertainment -- is not only the 51-year-old saxophonist's first album of original music since 2002, but also finds him exploring new territory in Latin music.

The new record marks the end of his 25-year relationship with music mogul Clive Davis, who first spotted the saxophonist when he was a sideman in Jeff Lorber's jazz-fusion band and released his self-titled debut album in 1982.

Their partnership resulted in 26 albums -- with global sales totaling more than 75 million records….But more recently the saxophonist says he felt "handcuffed" by having to play cover tunes on which he couldn't stray far from the melody. According to Kenny G, Arista insisted on him doing standards albums such as the 2006 "I'm in the Mood For Love: The Most Romantic Melodies of All Time."

"Unfortunately, I fell into a category with Arista of, 'Well, you can't really do original material any more,' " he said.

"I knew that doing a Latin album of original material was going to be an amazing project ... but Clive and the guys at Arista were not interested at all," he added. "I said, well I have to do this album so we're going to have to get a friendly divorce."

"Personally, I think that this is one of the best albums that Kenny has done in years," said Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment. "It's kind of a return for Kenny back to doing original music that is really what he built his reputation and credibility about."

"People can tell when somebody's doing something from their heart or whether they're doing it from their brain," he said. "Fortunately for me, I sleep well at night because I know that I've always played the best that I can ... and a lot of people seem to like what I do."

Way to go Kenny G! Here's hoping Barry is not too far behind...
Texas Fan

1 comment:

you begin again.... said...

You're right, the similarities *are* striking.
If you saw the interview Barry did with the Biography Channel (it just aired again this January) not only did he mention the "golden handcuffs" but even Melissa Manchester described an unnamed record exec as one who tells the artists on his label, "Here, kid, sing this. It'll be good for ya." No, she was not kidding, nor did she think it was funny.
As much as I like light pop music (because you can't be intense and thoughtful ALL the time!) I'd rather hear another Paradise Cafe or Mayflower any day of the week, and know that I'm getting the best Barry has to offer, and not what Clive Davis (or his heir apparent, Simon Cowell) thinks is the lowest common denominator.

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