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  1. #1

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    Some people are not fans of saxophone and jazz icon Kenny G, and one of his most vocal detractors was Pat Metheny, another jazz icon, whose harsh takedown became one of the most widely read pieces of jazz criticism ever. That exchange is a big moment in director Penny Lane’s latest documentary, “Listening to Kenny G.”

    Back in 2000, Metheny famously called out Kenny G for playing out of tune and not knowing advanced scales. But what he really took great exception to was Kenny’s sharing the stage in a “duet” with one of the all-time jazz greats, Louis Armstrong, by overdubbing Armstrong’s icon recording of “What a Wonderful World.”

    Speaking with TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman in a video interview at the Toronto International Film festival, Kenny G said he thought it was a joke when he first read Metheny’s critique, and he even tried to extend the olive branch to the jazz guitarist.


    “When I first read it I thought, I thought it was a joke. Oh, this has gotta be a joke. And then I had my manager talk to his manager, and they go, ‘No that was real.’ Wow! ‘Can I have his email address?'” he asked. “I wrote him something directly and said, ‘Hey man, why are you so angry? Do you want to get together for lunch and talk about it?'”

    Lane was fascinated about making a movie about people who don’t like someone else’s art, and she guessed correctly that Kenny had a sense of humor and would not be “so sensitive” to talk about it.

    “I thought that whole episode said a lot more about the people who flipped out than it did about Kenny or anything about his music,” Lane said about Metheny’s screed. “I thought it was really funny. Who would be so angry? It’s one thing to say I don’t like that song, I don’t think he should’ve done that but to write a 10,000-word rant?”

    But “Listening to Kenny G” doesn’t just stop at Metheny’s criticism but looks at how fans and critics have lambasted his music for decades, even as he’s continued to sell millions of records. And even for how personal some of the attacks have gotten, Kenny is still playing.
    Kenny G Is Fine With Some People Hating His Music – Even Pat Metheny (Video)

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  3. #2

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    Pat was WAY out of line.

    Let your music speak...

  4. #3

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    Pat was indeed out of line. Arrogance.

    It is also false to refer to Kenny G as a “jazz icon”, as this person did.

    Ignorance.

  5. #4

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    - The main argument was not about music at all

    - PM made a mistake, when he added critics on the music too, so the main point lost focus, and we ended arguing about a) is KGs music good or not? b) if it is not, has PM right to say it? Both qustion and answer are indifferent.

    - I found very strange, this on this forum the emotional like/not like PM, like not like KG feelings are stronger when formulating opinion than respect legacy. Respecting our legacy should be priorized over that feelings.(There were earlier threads about this, I am writing this based on those, not this very thread)

  6. #5

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    Pat should learn to use effects. I'd pay someone to steal his chorus pedal.

  7. #6

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    I have a lot of Pat's CDs and I have not any of KG...sorry.
    At the end of the 1980s, KG was very popular.
    His recordings were often broadcast on radio stations around the world / in hotels as well /.
    Surely KG was hosted on radio more often than Pat.
    It was just saxophone songs-for lovers.
    This is probably obvious.
    There were people who knew the music of KG and did not know who PM- genius of guitar .

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    Pat was indeed out of line. Arrogance.

    It is also false to refer to Kenny G as a “jazz icon”, as this person did.

    Ignorance.
    For PM fans it is more important what Pat says than what Kenny G. will play.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevebol
    Pat should learn to use effects. I'd pay someone to steal his chorus pedal.
    Apparently you don't hear or don't want to hear what kind of musical language is used by one of the world's greatest musicians, Pat Metheny.
    Apparently you do not hear or do not want to hear what kind of musical language Pat Metheny / one of the greatest musicians in the world / uses.
    Pat has his own sound, and that's very important - I recognize him.
    I like chorus effect...:-)

  10. #9

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    I heard Kenny G interviewed on the radio a few years ago.

    He was humble about his playing in the same way lots of musicians are. He certainly didn't act like he thought he was a jazz icon.

    Seemed like a reasonable person.

    A lot of people like his music and have bought his records. He must be touching people for that to be the case.

    I guess Pat must have formulated some kind of bar that Kenny G doesn't get over. Probably motivated by people who use the word "jazz" to describe something Pat doesn't regard as jazz.

  11. #10

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    I don't remember exactly what Pat said about Kenny G but I do remember not enjoying the latter's tunes* when they came up on the radio, especially after being treated to a Level 42 or Talking Heads song. Pat got some chart success back in the day and maybe it was his way of saying to the world, hey I'm not a pop musician!

    *Parody set to Let It Be melody, starting:
    When I turn on turn on my car radio,
    Mother Mary punishes me,
    For 3 seconds I hear, Kenny G....

  12. #11

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    Does it matter? They play different instruments in different genres. Had Artie Shaw said something mean about Benny Goodman, it would be remembered. If Meth resented Sco, we would take sides. But nobody really cares what a progressive jazz guitarist with big hair thinks about a smooth saxophonist who is most often heard in hotel lobbies. The fake duet with Armstrong would never have been one of the great moments in music, whomever had been chosen to play; it is not a lost opportunity.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I heard Kenny G interviewed on the radio a few years ago.

    He was humble about his playing in the same way lots of musicians are. He certainly didn't act like he thought he was a jazz icon.

    Seemed like a reasonable person.

    A lot of people like his music and have bought his records. He must be touching people for that to be the case.

    I guess Pat must have formulated some kind of bar that Kenny G doesn't get over. Probably motivated by people who use the word "jazz" to describe something Pat doesn't regard as jazz.
    Pat has a very high position among the world's greatest jazz musicians and he can probably say what he thinks.
    There is a very large musical gap between these musicians.
    PM-great guitarst,great composer,great creator...etc

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    Does it matter? They play different instruments in different genres. Had Artie Shaw said something mean about Benny Goodman, it would be remembered. If Meth resented Sco, we would take sides. But nobody really cares what a progressive jazz guitarist with big hair thinks about a smooth saxophonist who is most often heard in hotel lobbies. The fake duet with Armstrong would never have been one of the great moments in music, whomever had been chosen to play; it is not a lost opportunity.
    +1

  15. #14

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    Kenny G- exelent hotel background music...
    Pat Metheny-exelent concert music...

  16. #15

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    When KG starts his adventure with real jazz .. eg- be-bop ... the fans may not understand it.
    My dream is for Kenny G to have as many fans.

  17. #16

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    Kris, you are overreacting this with multiple post, that is really not necessary.

    KG had no right to force himself on and playing duet with the greatest person of jazz. Regarding the act was not confirmed by Louis Armstrong this is literally rape, as Armstrong was helpless in situation. His act was disrespectful, with a total ignorance about his place.

    PM was completely right to state this.

    Unfortunatelly PM said some critics about KGs playing, what was absolute unnecessary.
    Your arguments how great is Pat, are also absolute unnecessary. Liking PM or not has nothing to do with the main point

  18. #17

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    This is really necessary beacause I know some people who only associate jazz with Kenny G.
    Hope you undrestand.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    Regarding the act was not confirmed by Louis Armstrong this is literally rape, as Armstrong was helpless in situation. His act was disrespectful, with a total ignorance about his place.
    t
    Wow... someone is a bit too "woke" it seems... and you might want to look up the definition of "literally"...

  20. #19

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    Kenny is a wise dude:

    “I’m full of confidence and good reps of doing things that are great, and plus I like the way that I play,” he said. “Unfortunately, most people in the world, our whole identity of ourselves are based on what other people think of us and most people are narcissists anyway. We all think about ourselves. So if you’re waiting for somebody else to give you your view of yourself and they’re telling you what they think of you, you’re doomed to be miserable. I know who I am, I know what I do.”

  21. #20

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    You know, one of the worst things music can be is inoffensive. Judging by the reaction to KG's music the man is downright punk

    It's overblown. The faux duet with armstrong was foolish but would have been long forgotten had it not been for Metheny's outburst. Who, but a few musicologists remember Natalie Cole's duet w her father?

    They're in different markets, and therefore abide by different conventions. Kenny G is very good at what he does even if I don't like it, Metheny is a master of his idiom. It's not a cage fight.

  22. #21

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    The documentary sounds really interesting, I hope there will be a way to watch it without having to buy it. (I'd rent it of course)

  23. #22

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    Kenny G plays pablum puke. His musicianship is professional but average.

    Some people like pablum puke. Most people don't recognize performance mediocrity, especially if they think somethng sounds pleasant.

    Comparing his music or his playing to all these historical greats is simply nauseating. Please folks, cease and desist.

  24. #23

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    If we study the roots and history of Jazz, we will realize that it started as one thing, but it evolved and changes into many different genres of the same thing, "Jazz". You have Bebop, Hard Bop, Post-Bop, Big Band, Swing, Avant Garde, Smooth Jazz, Free Jazz, Fusion, Latin Jazz, Straight Ahead, and the list goes on with Bossa Jazz, Blues Jazz etc.. Kenny G is an educated, experienced musician who happened to have chosen Smooth Jazz as his performing style. It is what I call "Jazz for the Masses". I'm a big fan of Pat's music, but I think it was a serious lack of judgement on his part to have made those comments. Are we going to say the same about George Benson? who's music was prime in the Smooth Jazz radio stations during most of the 80's and 90's ? How about Wes? who recorded some albums of mostly elevator music using popular songs. How about Chuck Loeb, Ronny Jordan, Norman Brown, Larry Carlton etc, all great jazz guitarists who've chosen Smooth Jazz as their performing styles. Is everyone entitled to their opinion? absolutely, but if we are just picking the people we don't like, it strikes me as a bit hypocritical. Pat is a Jazz Icon and an incredible composer, not my opinion, but a hard fact and I will continue to listen to his music and maybe even transcribing some of it, we all make mistakes; even the Icons...



    Cheers,
    Arnie..
    Last edited by arnie65; 09-13-2021 at 05:25 PM.

  25. #24

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    "I love jazz."-one lady - woman told me that ...."it was beautiful- the sound of Kenny G."
    Have you heard Coltrane?
    ...the answer: "how old is Coltrane?"

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    Wow... someone is a bit too "woke" it seems... and you might want to look up the definition of "literally"...
    that is maybe my English. On rape I did not mean *sexual* rape, just a violent action, when someone forces over himselt on an other person. KG did that "literally" literally :-). Again it is possible I used the rape word incorrectly, although I still have a feeling that rape could mean other type of forced action than sexual.

    Anyway, I think arguing about: was it a disgusting violent and arrogant action or was not it, makes way more sense than arguing about how great is PM or not, or arguing about how great is KG or not.