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Jazz Fans are Divided Listening to Kenny G

I knew Kenny G was one of the original ten investors of Starbuck and knew there was sexy romanticism felt through his music when it hits the ear.  But, whaat I didn’t know is that Kenny G is one of the most polarizing musician amongst fans. Yup, this curly-haired saxophone player introduced the category of smooth jazz with international hits such as Songbird and Silhouette. Yet, simultaneously came to symbolize the easy-listening music played in malls and elevators that we have come to loathe. Director Penny Lane takes a witty and provocative look at this easy-listening saxophonist’s story while asking: what makes music good or bad?

Born as Kenny Gorelick, to a Seattle middle-class Jewish family, he was expected to take over his father’s plumbing business. However, unexpected musical encouragement from his high school band teacher, James Gardiner, and a little inspiration by Grover Washington Jr.,  launched his career with legendary producer Clive Davis.

Lane interviews jazz critics, academics, and DJs for their takes on Kenny G. For some critics, Kenny G represents a means to discuss how Black musicians had their work appropriated by white performers. Yet, insights a conversational contrasts between the haters and admirers who cherish his music as the soundtrack to their lives.

“I don’t think I’m a personality to people,” says Kenny G. “I think I’m a sound.” He’s well aware of the jokes at his expense, but he retains a naiveté that makes for a fascinating character study. This documentary isn’t only about Kenny G. It’s also about you as a listener.

What is most fascinating is the discussion of his struggle with record labels who simply had no formula for instrumentalists or how the label had him break dancing in videos and how his album covers were devoid of his image.  I knew this would go down with Black artists and album covers, but was shocked to find out the reverse was true…especially with a jazz musician.  In a surprise twist, discovered he’s successful golfer, played for one of Kim and Kanye’s V-day celebrations or that he literally only possesses only one Grammy award.

Listening to Kenny G in hella entertaining and eye-opening to say the least.  Penny Lane did her thing by bringing haters and lovers of one squiggly haired musician together if only for a moment as it streams on HBO beginning October 9th.

I love, love love movies, watching them and discussing them...thus the birth of The Curvy Film Critic!!! Host/Producer/FilmCritic-Expert, I am an member of such esteemed organizations as Critics Choice Association, African American Film Critics Association, Online Association of Female Film Critics and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. My op-eds or features have been seen in VARIETY, RogerEbert.com, Maltin on Movies, as well as being a frequent Guest Contributor to Fox 11-LA, NPR, Good Day LA, Turner Classic Movies and KCRW Press Play with Madeline Brand. Catch my reviews on The Curvy Critic with Carla Renata - LIVE!!! Sundays 5pm PST via You Tube or Facebook Live or on Rotten Tomatoes. If you like what you read please shout me out and subscribe to The Curvy Critic on YouTube. You can chat with me across all social media platforms @TheCurvyCritic and as always, thanks for supporting a sista'

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