Pat Metheny on Kenny G
I read this several years ago, but hadn’t thought about until today when Pat popped up on the iPod while on shuffle. Pat basically rips Kenny to shreds and doesn’t mince words about his views on Pat’s musicianship (or lack thereof). An interesting read.
Kenny G is not a musician I really had much of an opinion about at all until recently. There was not much about the way he played that interested me one way or the other either live or on records.
I first heard him a number of years ago playing as a sideman with Jeff Lorber when they opened a concert for my band. My impression was that he was someone who had spent a fair amount of time listening to the more pop oriented sax players of that time, like Grover Washington or David Sanborn, but was not really an advanced player, even in that style. He had major rhythmic problems and his harmonic and melodic vocabulary was extremely limited, mostly to pentatonic based and blues-lick derived patterns, and he basically exhibited only a rudimentary understanding of how to function as a professional soloist in an ensemble – Lorber was basically playing him off the bandstand in terms of actual music.
But he did show a knack for connecting to the basest impulses of the large crowd by deploying his two or three most effective licks (holding long notes and playing fast runs – never mind that there were lots of harmonic clams in them) at the key moments to elicit a powerful crowd reaction (over and over again). The other main thing I noticed was that he also, as he does to this day, played horribly out of tune – consistently sharp. (more…)