Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham
I guarantee that my pops had plenty of access to avant-garde jazz back in the early nineties. But instead, on our many rides in his 1992 Ford Crown Victoria, to the commissary, sporting events, school, and wherever else, he chose to subject me to music by Spyro Gyra, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Dave Koz, and the slickest of them all, smooth jazz saxophonist and noodle-hair-curl extraordinaire Kenny G. At that time, I thought that my dad was the coolest man on earth.
To this day, I’m sporadically haunted by the dentist-chair notes of “Songbird.” That was dad’s jam. But what did anyone know about jazz back then? After the seventies, the genre suffered from an identity crisis, a generational gap, plagued by pop radio, MTV, and a pocketed ignorance of jazz titans and sustainers like Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea.
Smooth jazz took over and turned potential aficionados into “easy listeners.” Kenny G capitalized on this. To date, he has recorded eighteen—eighteen!—albums, with the likes of Stevie Nicks, Whitney Houston, Babyface, and Celine Dion, among others.
And, oh, let’s not forget about his most recent stunt—being hired by Kanye West to do a sweet sax serenade for his wife, Kim Kardashian, on Valentine’s Day. We’re not knocking his hustle, but Kenny G is a cornball. Albeit, a very accomplished one who has earned a big stage like DPAC.
Tickets for the show will go on sale June 7 at noon.