Kenny G. - At Last
Kenny G. is synonymous with commercial 1980s smooth jazz and dominated late night radio for years, much to the disgust of "serious" jazz fans. But he'd earned his place in the music world by appearing on albums by Barry White, Aretha Franklyn and other major stars. In 2005 he's back, updated and somewhat redeemed by his excellent taste in collaborators.
At Last...The Duets Album is a mix of instrumental Jazz and romantic ballads sung by well-known divas with a few pop songs sprinkled in between. For many this album will make an interesting change from G's previous purely instrumental fare.
Though Kenny G's performance with each artist is flawless, discerning listeners may find his choice of songs disappointing and faintly irritating. Don't be put off by track one "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" the first in a number of over-played and rather tacky pop songs littering what could have been a stellar album.
What makes this album worth owning is Kenny G's collaboration with great vocalists and jazz musicians. True romantics will love Gladys Knight's "Misty" and Richard Marx's hauntingly beautiful "Sorry seems to be the hardest part". While tracks sung by Chaka Khan, Barbara Streisand and our very own Judith Sephuma are truly enjoyable. Let's hope "A Cry, A Smile, A Dance" makes Sephuma as popular internationally as she is in South Africa.
Kenny G's talent truly comes to the fore when he plays with Jazz greats like Arturo Sandoval the classical trumpeter who was one of the first musicians to bring Latin influences into American Jazz. G and Sandoval's rendition of "At Last" evoke nostalgia for a bygone era.
"Pick up the pieces", the duet by Kenny G and saxophone legend David Sanborn provides a lively upbeat contrast to the laid-back tempo of the rest of the album. You'll also appreciate David Benoit, the well-known, pianist and composer's instrumental rendition of "Don't know why" the ballad recently made famous by Norah Jones.
Overall this album will keep you interested while it skips between instrumental music and ballads, a slow and upbeat tempo, and popular music and Jazz. Get it if you like Kenny G, or if you are a smooth jazz or an easy listening fan.
- Soraya Abdulatief