Getting Down With The Milquetoast Maestro:
(A review of a Kenny G concert from The Other Paper, Columbus, Ohio,
by John Petric).
A whole lotta people paid a whole lotta money to witness a whole lotta meaningless breathing exercises done through a musical snorkel Saturday night at the Columbus Convention Center.
Kenny G - the mayor of mayonnaise music, the milquetoast maestro, the woodwind weasel - played his saxophone to roughly 5000 people at $25 per head. That adds up to a $150,000 gross and boy, gross it was.
G is the latest and most successful instrumentalist with a slight jazz pedigree to hit the big time. However, in G's case, it's with an authenticity so questionable he may as well document it with a fancy diploma from some phony offshore jazz school in the middle of the Caribbean. Even Zamfir comes with better jazz credentials.
Ornamental romantic themes ruled the night's jazz lite hell. Goopy, chimey electric piano usually introduced his tunes, G's wimpy soprano sax then laid down a melody fit for a lovesick poodle on Prozac.
If Holiday Inn motel art could come to musical life, it would sound like G's "Forever in Love" or "Sister Rose" or "Sentimental," all horrible crap from "Breathless," his bezillion-selling album on Arista.
The Thin White Duke of Puke's solos were the color of air. His improvisations improved none at all as the long night dragged on. His chops consisted almost entirely of pyrotechnic finger exercises and obnoxious minutes-long sustains that had the crowd whooping and hollering. Sadly though, the long-winded G has all the fiery jazz imagination of, say, Richard Clayderman, the French dude. (He's French, for crissakes, need I say more?)
After the G-weasel committed atrocity after atrocity in the name of jazz,pulling tunes off his seven-album catalog, the question remained. Why is this weenie doing so well? Opener Peabo Bryson joined G for a song in the middle of the headliner's set. It was the best part of the show.