Kenny G discusses his latest release: “Heart and Soul”

By Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith Sax man extraordinaire Kenny G says it was only natural that he’d get back to sweet soul music with his new “Heart and Soul” album that gets its official release today on Concord Records. “I grew up in a very ethnic area of Seattle, listening to R&B music all the time,” he tells us. Favorites included “Earth, Wind & Fire and Barry White.”

The album is all Kenny G originals, except for collaborations with Robin Thicke and Babyface – with whom he worked via internet. “These days, everybody kind of does it in their own space and we put it together later. Nobody takes offense to that. Everyone’s creative signature is still on it,” he says.

The music man is performing here and abroad in support of “Heart and Soul” this summer. He’ll tour Asia in October and November, and eventually, he says, he’ll get back to China, where his music has become a part of everyday life – to the extent it’s heard at sporting events and train stations.

He can’t explain that. “I think it’s just happened organically. For whatever reason, a couple of my songs are very popular there. They’ve become part of their culture. It’s a cool experience to go over there and have people know the music really well,” he says. He guesses that the “Heart and Soul” music might not lend itself as much to Chinese tastes as some of his past music. “”They probably like simple melodies more than the groove. But as an artist, you can’t keep doing the same thing. You have to keep changing it up and growing.”

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