What Instrument Does Kenny G Play? – Revealing the Iconic Choice

Kenny G, a renowned saxophonist, has made a name for himself with his soothing and melodic music. Widely recognized for his talent and contributions to the music industry, many fans and enthusiasts often wonder which instrument he primarily plays to create his signature sound.

Kenny G and His Instrument

Saxophones of Choice

Kenny G, a world-renowned saxophonist, primarily plays the saxophone as his instrument of choice. He is proficient in playing various types of saxophones, including the soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones. One of his preferred models is the Selmer Mark VI saxophone. Interestingly, the saxophone that Kenny G mostly used in his songs and recordings is the same one he played in high school.

Apart from his saxophone expertise, Kenny G’s musical versatility extends to the flute and piano, allowing him to contribute and adapt to diverse musical styles and genres.

Apart from using Selmer Mark VI saxophones, Kenny G has created and endorsed his line of saxophones called Kenny G Saxophones. These instruments are known for their distinctive design and sound, helping elevate Kenny G’s status as a successful and influential saxophonist in the music industry.

Circular Breathing Technique

Kenny G is not only known for his choice of saxophones but also for his mastery of a unique skill called circular breathing. This technique allows him to play his saxophone continuously by taking in air through his nose while simultaneously blowing out through his mouth. This way, he can sustain longer notes and create smooth transitions between phrases, further contributing to his smooth jazz sound.

By utilizing the circular breathing technique and playing his beloved Selmer Mark VI soprano saxophone and other saxophone types, Kenny G has established himself as one of the most successful and admired saxophonists on a global scale.

Musical Career

Early Life and Education

Born Kenneth Bruce Gorelick on June 5, 1956, in Seattle, Washington, Kenny G is an American smooth jazz saxophonist, composer, and producer. He discovered his love for music during his high school years at Franklin High School, where he started playing the saxophone.

Initially; however, Kenny G had begun learning the clarinet before transitioning to the saxophone, which ultimately became his signature instrument.

Notable Albums and Songs

Kenny G’s 1986 album, Duotones, brought him commercial success, and he has since become one of the best-selling artists of all time, with more than 75 million records sold worldwide. He has had more than ten number-one Billboard Jazz Albums, including 2004’s At Last… The Duets, 2010’s Heart and Soul, and 2015’s Brazilian Nights.

In 2021, he released New Standards, showcasing his compositional skills with songs inspired by his love of the ’50s and ’60s traditional pop standards.

Some of Kenny G’s most popular and successful songs include “Songbird,” “The Moment,” and “Don’t Make Me Wait for Love.”

Collaborations and Live Performances

Throughout his musical career, Kenny G has collaborated with various musicians from different genres, working with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Michael Bolton, Weezer, and Frank Sinatra. He has also performed live with notable artists like Whitney Houston and Grover Washington Jr. Kenny G received a Hollywood Walk of Fame star for his immense contributions to music.

As an artist, Kenny G has displayed versatility and adaptability in his career by collaborating with various esteemed musicians. These collaborations span across different genres, such as working with the Notorious B.I.G. and Clive Davis. His ability to appeal to a wide range of audiences has contributed to his long-lasting prominence in the music industry.

As a performer, Kenny G often plays a Selmer Mark VI soprano saxophone, as well as alto, tenor, bari, and bass saxophones. The saxophone he used in all his recorded songs and live performances holds great sentimental value for him. Additionally, Kenny G has created his own line of saxophones called Kenny G Saxophones to further express his passion for the instrument.

Kenny G’s musical career is a testament to his talent and versatility as a saxophonist, composer, and producer in the jazz and popular music scenes. His worldwide success and multiple collaborations have solidified him as a pivotal figure in the history of smooth jazz.

Genres and Influences

Smooth Jazz and Pop

Kenny G is known for his contributions to the smooth jazz genre. He has also dabbled in pop music, creating a unique blend of both styles. His instrumental compositions often feature elements of jazz, pop, and even guitar, resulting in melodic and soothing tunes. As a skilled musician, Kenny G mainly plays the soprano saxophone but is also proficient in alto, tenor, bari, and bass sax.

Influential Artists

Throughout his career, Kenny G has been influenced by several notable artists within the jazz and smooth jazz realms. Some of his early inspirations include jazz legends like Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker. They contributed to his growth as a saxophonist, and their influence can be heard in his tenor sax playing style.

Kenny G has also been inspired by contemporary smooth jazz musicians, such as Stan Getz and Grover Washington Jr. Their passionate and lyrical saxophone playing styles greatly impacted his musical approach, helping him to establish his signature sound. Additionally, Kenny G has expressed admiration for artists outside the jazz sphere, such as soulful singer Barry White, whose rich vocals likely influenced Kenny’s own melodic approach to music.

Kenny G’s diverse range of influences has allowed him to become a household name, and his favorite instrument, the Selmer Mark VI soprano saxophone, remains a crucial part of his musical identity throughout his impressive career.

Awards and Achievements

Kenny G has received numerous accolades throughout his career. One of his most notable achievements is winning a Grammy Award in 1994 for his track “Forever in Love,” which earned him the title of Best Instrumental Composition. This recognition further solidified his status as a best-selling artist and talented musician.

In addition to his Grammy Award, Kenny G also holds a position in the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1997, he accomplished the impressive feat of playing the E flat note on his saxophone for an astounding 45 minutes and 47 seconds at the J&R Music World in New York City. This record constitutes a testament to his exceptional skill and dedication to his craft as a saxophonist.

Kenny G’s success and impact on the world of music have not gone unnoticed. He has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a prestigious acknowledgment of his remarkable career and contributions to the entertainment industry. This recognition further highlights his status as a distinguished musician and esteemed entertainer.

With numerous awards and achievements under his belt, Kenny G’s talent as a saxophonist, and particularly his expertise with the soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones, has positioned him as a celebrated and respected figure within the music world.

Personal Life and Interests

Kenny G, born Kenneth Bruce Gorelick on June 5, 1956, attended the University of Washington, where he studied accounting. Despite his education in accounting, his passion for music never wavered. Throughout his time at the university, he continued to develop his skills as a saxophonist and was inspired by various artists, including the Love Unlimited Orchestra.

Apart from his love for music, Kenny G is an avid golfer. He often spends time on the golf course when he is not performing or working on his music. His dedication to golf has led him to become a skilled player, competing in various amateur events.

In his early career, Kenny G had the opportunity to collaborate with notable artists, such as Whitney Houston. Their work together displayed the incredible talent of both musicians and further solidified Kenny G’s place in the music industry.

When it comes to his personal interests, Kenny G has a penchant for listening to various genres of music. One of his all-time favorite songs is “Dancing Queen” by ABBA, which showcases his appreciation for different styles and sounds.

Kenny G regularly performs in Las Vegas, a city known for hosting some of the world’s most talented musicians. His live performances in the city draw audiences from far and wide, who come to witness his mastery of the saxophone.

Throughout his biography, Kenny G’s personal life has remained relatively private. He balances his time between his passion for music and his love for golf while also enjoying other hobbies and interests. Despite his immense success, Kenny G remains grounded, with a down-to-earth personality that endears him to his fans.

Kenny G’s Impact on Music

Instrumental Music and Jazz Scene

Kenny G, renowned for playing the soprano saxophone, has had a significant impact on music, especially in the realms of jazz and instrumental music. With a career spanning more than four decades, he has contributed immensely to the saxophone’s popularity as a principal instrument in both genres. Kenny G’s musical journey began in 1966, at the age of 10, when he first started playing the saxophone after hearing a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Throughout his illustrious career, Kenny G has not only redefined the capabilities of the soprano saxophone but has also influenced various aspects of the jazz scene with his unique sound and approach to performance, improvisation, and practice. Additionally, he is known to play other types of saxophones, such as alto, tenor, and baritone, which further expanded his musical capabilities.

Innovation and Market Influence

Kenny G’s commercial success and monumental achievements in the jazz music scene set the stage for his innovative impact on the market. He has more than a dozen albums to his credit, with some of the most notable including Forever in Love and Breathless. Not only are these records substantial commercial successes, but they also garnered Kenny G widespread critical acclaim, including multiple Grammy-winning titles.

Moreover, he has made significant strides in designing and creating his own saxophone line, coined “Kenny G Saxophones.” This endeavor further solidified his position as a market force and a musician committed to innovation and excellence.

During his time touring, Kenny G has had the opportunity to collaborate with various esteemed artists, such as John Coltrane, which has expanded and enriched his own musical prowess.

His high school saxophone practice routine is a testament to Kenny G’s dedication to his craft. Despite his busy schedule, he always took the time to play his soprano saxophone daily, ensuring that he continued to hone his skills and expand his musical knowledge.

In conclusion, Kenny G’s impact on music has been profound and multifaceted, encompassing his exceptional contributions to instrumental music and the jazz scene and his innovative influence on the market. With an unwavering dedication to his craft and endless passion for the art of music, it is no surprise that Kenny G’s legacy continues to reverberate throughout the world.

John Godfrey

John Godfrey is a music fanatic, as well as the owner of Songpier.com which provides music guides. In high school, he learned how to play the drums which inspired him to learn about rock music. He began to write articles for various music magazines and during this period he realized he had a passion for writing music descriptions. He has a Master's degree in music education from the University of Redlands.