Breathless Kenny blows into town
IT'S called The Breathless Tour and for Kenny G, his travelling roadshow is certainly living up to its name.
Currently in Australia on a five city tour, Kenny (the G stands for Gorelick) hit the road in March, starting with the US. He played Europe for two months, was back in the States in June for another four months, moved on to Australia and next on the itinerary is Asia.
Next week he'll be in Hong Kong for two nights at the Coliseum on Wednesday and Thursday - and he's hoping to repeat his staggering success of two years ago when two scheduled performances turned into five sell-out shows.
He's certainly looking forward to returning to the territory, he said this week in an exclusive interview from Brisbane, describing his visit here as a fantastic time.
''I loved Hong Kong from all different perspectives - the people were great, I remember the concerts and walking around the audience when I was playing and getting a great feeling. I loved everything about Hong Kong,'' he enthused.
''I had such a good time, the problem is I'm hoping to have just as good a time this time, and I think that is going to happen. We loved playing in Hong Kong, so the expectation is that we're going to have a great time and hopefully people will enjoy ourmusic.
''This time we're getting to play some new songs from the Breathless album and that's exciting for me,'' added Kenny.
Performing is something Kenny loves, describing it as ''my favourite'', but while he gushes with enthusiasm about playing his music live before his millions of fans - his record sales exceed 10 million worldwide - he admits being on the road for months on end can be a little gruelling.
''Yeah, sometimes it's tiring, but the point is I get to do what I love. I have to look at it from the positive aspects, not from the negative aspects. Sure the schedule's difficult, but still I get to play my music and that's wonderful,'' was Kenny's reasoning.
After Hong Kong, Kenny plays Singapore, Bangkok and Manila. In December he'll be back for an extensive tour of Japan, when it is hoped other Asian cities will be slotted in.
While the rest of the music world is looking to Asia as the next big scene, Kenny has already hit the right note.
''I already think, for me, Asia is not potential any more, it's reality. The tour that we did two years ago was one of the best I've ever done, I was really pleased,'' said Kenny who comes from Seattle in the United States.
''I don't look at it in terms of market places and demographics, I just think about it in terms of the music - am I playing the type of stuff I like to do, am I sharing it with people and that kind of experience? So for me, playing in Asia was wonderful.
''We played throughout Asia and there were lots of places where we played where most people didn't speak English, yet the music was a form of translation in itself.'' Kenny's latest album, Breathless, is his seventh in 11 years and, like his previous releases, it has broken through the usual pop-jazz divide. When Breathless debuted at number nine on the Billboard album chart, he broke Stan Getz's 30 year record for aninstrumental artist remaining in the top 10.
It is four years since Kenny released an album and, he admitted, that's a long time between albums.
''The music took a lot longer to record than I thought it would. I wasn't going to release any music until I felt it was taken to the point that I wanted it to be.
''So if it takes four years, it takes four years - as an artist, that's my commitment,'' explained Kenny. ''If I was just a businessman, I probably would have put out three records in the past four years.
''But my philosophy is that I was very fortunate to discover at an early age what I wanted to do with my life and it is something that provides me a lot of joy in my life.'' Kenny's total involvement in the creation of the product may go some way to explaining why it took four years to get Breathless on the shelves: he writes the music, plays most of the instruments himself and records it in his home studio, Studio G.
''When you hear one of my songs, it's not just me playing my saxophone in a studio and walking out, it's me creating the rhythm parts and the music behind it and the sound and the levels - everything.
''It's the commitment I've made as an artist and that's what I want to do, that's how I am satisfied, by putting music out like that. I wouldn't feel good if I walked into the studio, played my saxophone and left.'' Breathless is a fusion of jazz, rhythm and blues, pop and funk. The debut single from the album is Forever in Love, on which he plays a variety of saxophones, as well as keyboards.
Another track is The Wedding Song, which he wrote, and performed at his own wedding last year. Two vocalists join the long list of distinguished singers he has worked with over the years - Peabo Bryson, performing on By The Time The Night Is Over, and Aaron Neville, singing the song Even If My Heart Would Break.
Kenny says Breathless, is his best work to date.
He describes it as ''a reflection of the growth and changes I have made and experienced as a musician and as a human being during the last four years''.
The personal experiences include marrying Lyndie, who is now expecting a child, make him anxious to get back home.
But, of the driving force in his life he says: ''Music, that is my whole life.''