Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kenny G. and Jazz Schadenfreude

Do I like his music? No. Do I want to listen to it? No. But, like a jazz Beatrice Hall, I will defend his right to play it.

I'm goaded to this position by the response I've seen by some people in the jazz community who took the opportunity to revel in his recent divorce. This is the lowest kind of schadenfreude. It's aimed at a person when it's really about something else.

Do musicians think he was stealing their audience, that the millions of cd's he's sold have kept their own releases from flying off the shelves? That pins out the level on the Self-Delusion Meter.


Listen, people, I know the dilemna of the jazz musician, My own adjustments to the ratio of practice hours to gig fees started early and have never stopped. Who knows why Kenny G.'s brand of syrup triumphed over the hordes of sax players who play the way he does. Maybe he's cuddlier than they are. Whatever the reason, his ascent has marked him as a jazz lightning rod/scapegoat, repository of ill-feeling toward all that's wrong with the American audience and the music industry.

We probably know babkes about the man Kenny G., but whatever we know or think we know, the guy is different than the music. Divorce is tough. Let's start there.

1 comment:

Ben Makinen said...

You are right - and re: record sales being stolen by KG! That's like saying Paul Whiteman or Glen Miller kept people from buying Fletcher Henderson or Duke Ellington records!