The G man comes to Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com
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The G man comes to Beaver Creek

Charlie OwenVail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
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Those long, curly locks. Tall, well-dressed with chiseled good looks and a shining personality, to boot. Forget all of that Kenny G blows … the saxophone that is.But what you may not know about Kenny G is that he can ski.Im actually a really good skier. Yeah, been skiing since I was 10, Kenny G said. Unfortunately Kenny might not get a chance to hit the slopes during his visit to Beaver Creek for his Vilar Center show Saturday night, he said.

As one of the worlds most famous saxophonists, many people know the name Kenny G (short for Gorelick), even if theyve never heard a single song by the man after all its not like hes going to be sandwiched between The Killers and Jack Johnson on your local Top 40 radio station. But Kenny Gs dedicated and unrelenting work ethic has helped make his name very recognizable in the instrumental music world. He practices playing the saxophone a minimum of two hours a day, his recorded catalogue boasts over 25 albums some that went platinum and collaborations with many of the music industries biggest names. He even won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition in 1994 for his single Forever In Love.We know were good at what we do, we take it seriously, Kenny G said, referring to his backing band. He compared his 20-year career playing with the same five-piece band to a championship basketball team that never breaks up. Kenny G is no stranger to playing in the valley either, having opened for James Brown at the Dobson Ice Arena almost 15 years ago. Selling records and tickets to shows seems to come naturally to Kenny G, who has a very large fan following and consistently high album sales.Ive been lucky that the music I like, people like, so thats a good thing. It means that I dont really have to think about adjusting my music if Im trying to sell records, Kenny G said. He feels that many artists in the biz are more concerned with writing music that they think will sell instead of the music they want to write. I dont like that. Ive never done that before. So maybe I think Ive been around this long because my integrity has always been there, he said.

The G-man whose career as a saxophonist spans over three decades has no plans to slow down or end his career either. He continues to release albums inspired by his desire to be creative and grow as a musician. Rhythm & Romance, Kenny Gs newest release, is his first original work in five years and the first Latin jazz album of his career.People really enjoy (Latin) music. Its new but it still sounds like me, Kenny G said.While on tour in support of his new album, he said audiences can expect to hear a blend of his classic material with many songs from his new release.But what inspires Kenny G to write songs that are so widely received? Is it experience, mood, politics, society? According to him, theres no one topic that makes for easy songwriting. I think the main thing is, you have to at least be comfortable on an instrument, whatever the instrument is, and so I know how to play the saxophone, obviously, so when I sit down to write, think about music, at least the saxophone is something I can use to bring life to ideas, Kenny G said.

Kenny Gs connection to the saxophone started when he was a kid. His mom never made him play, he said, it was simply something hes wanted to do since he first saw someone playing a saxophone on TV. When he finally got his hands on one he practiced non-stop, eventually earning a gig at the age of 17 with legendary soul-man Barry White. He was eventually signed by Arista Records. (He is currently signed to Concord Records.)I really dont think about it too much. I dont walk around with a success meter out there to see how good I am, he said. I concentrate more on practicing and just trying to become a better saxophone player, and thats what I work at really hard.But even with all of his personal success, one moment of his career that he never expected was sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House after playing a gig for then-President Bill Clinton a saxophone player himself. He even jammed with Clinton once, he said.I just have to make sure he inhales, Kenny G said.High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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