Kenny G Plays for the Children

Cover July 23, 2010

by Bill Delingat

Kenny G was born June 5, 1956 as Kenneth Bruce Gorelick in Seattle, Washington and who would have known then that after seeing a sax player on The Ed Sullivan Show, he would develop the talent and the skills of a modern day snake charmer, swooning his audience into an almost trance-like state, with his soothing style of music that brought him to the status of Grammy Award winner for adult contemporary and smooth jazz. Kenny G brought his heart-melting sound to help raise funds and awareness for the Shriners Hospitals for Children on July 1st and 2nd 2010, as part of the Shriners Imperial Council Session Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children is a health care system of 22 hospitals, dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs. Children up to the age of 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate are eligible for admission and receive all care in a family-centered environment with no financial obligation to patients or families.

The audience was a cross section of jazz enthusiasts, adoring females of all ages and a spattering of male adults, envious and as well mesmerized by his unique sound. The show started when the house lights dimmed and the band took to the stage; the “Pied Piper” was amongst us, as he stood and walked to a riser spiraling those haunting notes to a crescendo of what seemed to be the longest note in time. Kenny G did in fact accomplish that back in 1997, when he broke all records for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for playing the longest note ever recorded on a saxophone. Using circular breathing, Kenny G held an E-flat for 45 minutes and 47 seconds at J&R Music World in New York City. We heard it for ourselves as he walked through the audience shaking hands and holding that note until he got onto the stage to a resounding applause.

The band was “on the money” and a large back screen acted as a commentator of sorts, with mood changing imagery as it would outline information such as the “circular breathing” or names and information about Kenny G or the songs he selected to be performed.The screen was also used for that famous duet from his 1999 single, "What a Wonderful World" with the overdubbing of Louis Armstrong vocally and visually on screen. Kenny G fans considered the live performance of this duet with Armstrong (on a video taped backdrop) a "show stopper."

As an added surprise, one lucky person in the audience had the chance to win one of Kenny G’s custom made saxes, as he picked a number from the draw box of tickets people received as a bonus when they bought 2 or more of his CD’s at the merchandise counter. Not only would Kenny G bring the lucky couple up on the stage and play a romantic song on the sax they had just won for them (Kenny G quipped “DNA included”) , but there was an added bonus to meet the winners after the concert, as well as pose for a picture with them and their prize, autograph the Sax and case and their CD’s. Of course, Kenny G. hoped the winners would have an interest in playing the sax, but chances of that were slim, the lighter side of this serious musician came out with the comment “Hey, if you don’t have a need or desire to learn the sax you can sell it on E Bay. So buy your C.D’s and get a ticket to support the kids.”

The show included all his hits and the band members had their chance to show their chops throughout the performance, with the audience showing their appreciation by bringing them back for three encores, including the theme song from “Titanic”. After the performance, Kenny G sat for a meet and greet with his fans and autographed everyone’s pictures and C.D’s.

I have never been at a Kenny G concert and my thoughts have now been changed from that common phrase of elevator music to true master of the instrument ‘the saxophone”.

The wonderful world needs more people like Kenny G, helping others when they can not help themselves.
For more information on the Shriners’ Children’s Hospitals and how you can help please visit or Changing the World through Caring for Kids. Donate online, download a mailable donation form or call us toll-free at (800)241-GIFT (4438).
Kenny G's official website
Kenny G at Myspace
Kenny G at Legacy Recordings
About Kenny G and his Saxophone

Kenny G. started playing on the Selmer Mark VI Soprano, Alto and Tenor Saxophones back in 1966, but now prefers his own Custom designed Saxophones, that he has created and appropriately called "Kenny G Saxophones". Kenny G and his partner, saxophone designer Rheuben Allen, have opened their own factory in mainland China for the production of the new “Kenny G Saxophones”.

Rheuben, a world known designer and repairman, lives in China and checks every instrument during the manufacturing process, to insure the best Quality Control possible. Every factory employee is personally trained by Rheuben to make the best saxophones in the market today.

The Dark Gold Lacquer was patterned after the great tradition saxophones of the 1950’s and provides a very dark rich tone color. The Silver Plating on both the Silver Plated and Silver Plated Key Models, is the EZ Care Tarnish Resistant Silver Plating TM, and is very tarnish resistant. Just wipe and it shines like new.

"When I made the prototypes for the new E-Series II altos and tenors (said Rheuben Allen, Designer) I made several necks with different tapers and dimensions and gave them to Kenny to try. Kenny picked the combination he liked best and that is what we have placed in our production."

The E-Series II Soprano saxophone stands alone in the world of modern soprano saxophones. It is a copy of the bore and key work of the Soprano Kenny plays and it is the first soprano ever designed to offer the exchangeable harmonic key. By changing the harmonic key the saxophonist can decide to have either the harmonic key open the high F
or the high E pad cups. This option allows for the player to choose the correct key opening for their mouthpiece and playing style. It has never been offered by any other company in the past or to the best of Rheuben’s present knowledge.

When you try the Kenny G saxophones, you will understand why they play like no other saxophone in the market today. They are simply the best!