Listening to Kenny G (2021) 1080p

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Listening to Kenny G (2021) 1080p - Movie Poster
Documentary | Music
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Run Time:
97 min
IMDB Rating:
7.8 / 10 
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Directors: Penny Lane [Director] ,

Movie Description:


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  • Listening to Kenny G (2021) 1080p - Movie Scene 1

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Showing us the person behind the caricature

As "Listening to Kenny G" (2021 release; 97 min.) opens, Kenny G is backstage getting ready for a show, and is being asked "How do you feel", to which he responds "Underappreciated". We hear from a number of talking heads, including the NY Times Jazz critic: "What can I say?", he offers mumbling. We then go back in time, to Franklin HS in Seattle, where Kenny G grew up. At this point we are less than 10 min into the documentary.

Couple of comments: this documentary is part of HBO's Music Box series, whose earlier documentaries include the Woodstock 1999 one and "Jagged" (about Alanis' breakout album and tour). This latest entry is directed by Penny Lane, whose previous documentary was 2019's intriguing "Hail Satan?". Lane wants to get to the bottom of why Kenny G., the most successful instrumentalist of all time (more than 75 million albums sold), is also one of the most ridiculed (and worse), at best a mere punchline. Lane shows us how none other than Clive Davis (CEO of Arista) was convinced that Kenny G would set the world on fine, and how the Kenny G sound would be the foundation of the so-called Smooth Jazz or Jazz Lite radio stations that exploded in the early 90s. The film team gets unfettered access to Kenny G., and he himself wants to please the film team (and us) more than anything. When jazz guitarist Pat Metheny issues a scorching essay (more or less declaring Kenny G as the devil incarnate), it says more about Metheny than it does about Kenny G. I personally don't care much for Kenny G's music but millions of people clearly do. This documentary does a good job showing us the person behind the musician, if not the caricature that he has become for lots of people.

"Listening to Kenny G" premiered on HBO a few weeks ago, and is now available on HBO On Demand and HBO Max (where I caught it the other night). If you like the prior documentaries in the ongoing Music Box series, regardless of what music you like or dislike, I readily suggest you check this out, and draw your own conclusion.


An informative documentary about Kenny G and most importantly why some people hate Kenny G. And It does a great job balancing and showing both argument. Much like what he said in the start of the documentary, a lot of people recognize his music but not him. And here we get a sense of who he is as a person. He's likeable and humorous and it makes all of his music felt more genuine instead of just a money making scheme. Although I was quite disappointed because by the end the question of whether his music qualifies as Jazz is sort of unanswered and rather dismissed it was still an informative, well made and sometimes funny documentary.

well made

I have to applaud the docu for showing both sides equally. Not one side of the opinions is favoured, and it very much shows a leveled debate.

But do I think its a interesting docu? Kinda? Well the subject matter is rich, and I did learn a thing or two. I wouldn't say I was fully invested in the whole story.

Then again, the docu has some interesting people. So I think the interesting part of this docu lies more in the people rather than the subject. Especially KG, who is a very likable personality.

So all in all, one of the better docu's I've seen.

7/10: yes, pretty good.
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