With global sales totaling more than 75 million, Grammy and American Music Award winner Kenny G is the biggest-selling instrumental musician of all time — and he’s bringing his smooth jazz to the Brown County Music Center in Nashville on Dec. 5.
To add to his accolades, Kenny G has both the best-selling instrumental album of all time with “Breathless” and the best-selling Christmas album of all time with “Miracles.”
A successful instrumentalist whose recordings routinely made the pop, R&B, and jazz charts during the 1980s and ’90s, Kenny G’s sound became a staple on adult contemporary and smooth jazz radio stations.
Kenny Gorelick started playing professionally with Barry White‘s Love Unlimited Orchestra in 1976. After graduating from the University of Washington, Kenny G worked with Jeff Lorber Fusion, making two albums with the group. Soon he was signed to Arista, recording his debut as a leader in 1982.
His fourth album, “Duotones” (which included the very popular “Songbird”), made him into a star. Soon he was in demand for guest appearances on recordings of such famous singers as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Natalie Cole.
Kenny G’s own records have sold remarkably well, particularly “Breathless,” which has easily topped 8 million copies in the U.S.; his total album sales top 30 million copies. The holiday album “Miracles,” released in 1994, and 1996’s “Moment” continued the momentum of his commercial success.
“Faith: A Holiday Album” was released in 1998, followed by a limited-edition re-release of the 1997 “Greatest Hits” disc. In 2002, Kenny G dipped into tropical territory with “Paradise,” which featured guest appearances by Brian McKnight and Chanté Moore. This was followed by a music video collection, another holiday album, entitled “Wishes,” and, in 2003, a second greatest-hits collection, “Ultimate Kenny G.”
Perhaps in a bid to shake up his discography a bit, in 2004 Kenny G released “At Last … The Duets Album,” which featured “duets” with LeAnn Rimes and Chaka Khan. Two years later, smooth jazz’s king of the soprano sax returned to a purely instrumental approach on the brassy, big-band-inspired albums “Holiday Collection” and “I’m in the Mood for Love.”