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Kenny G: Practice What You Play

The iconic smooth jazz saxophonist talks about his music and his golf in a candid interview with JT’s editor in chief

Kenny G
Kenny G

Kenny G is practicing. He was supposed to call at 8 am sharp from his home in Southern California, but now it’s almost two hours later and there’s no word. A followup e-mail from his worried publicist sets things in motion and he calls shortly thereafter, apologetic, explaining that he starts practicing early in the morning every day and today he started and got so wrapped up in his exercises that he forgot all about the interview. He then jokes that this is one excuse a jazz magazine can hardly fault. “Especially if I’m doing a thing for JazzTimes, they can’t be too unhappy that I’m practicing, right?”

It’s true, the alibi holds up fine with us. And it’s doubtful that many jazz fans and musicians understand just how much work the saxophonist puts into his music. But Kenny G approaches his saxophone playing with the same dedication and resolve as someone like Sonny Rollins, though the end result musically couldn’t be farther apart.

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