The Essential Kenny G
Kenny G’s music has been so ubiquitous since the early '80s that it’s hardly surprising The Essential Kenny G plays out almost as an unwitting pop-culture chronicle. The soprano sax showman’s earliest ballad breakthroughs “Songbird” and “Silhouette,” his instrumental rendition of “My Heart Will Go On,” the mechanized funk of “Against Doctor’s Orders,” the cover of Average White Band's “Picking Up the Pieces” with David Sanborn, and his catchy Chaka Khan version of Christina Aguilera's “Beautiful” are all points plotting the smooth-jazz star's trajectory. There’s also Christmas and New Year’s fare sprinkled in, and more cameos from George Benson, Peabo Bryson, and Earth, Wind & Fire. While an engineered “duet” with the late Louis Armstrong on “What a Wonderful World” took a lot of heat—enlisting jazz history’s greatest heavyweight in a bid to support the leading light of the oft sneered-at smooth-jazz genre—it’s unlikely that the highbrow jazz world’s umbrage has done much to hurt the album’s popularity.