Montreal is known for many things; the food, the women, the Habs, the music scene, the festivals, and poutine. Another one of these is the jazz festival that brings in the world’s best jazz musicians for two weeks. It’s a paradise, but what about the other 300+ days? Well, if you’re lucky you will discover a cool act in a jazz bar around town, or attend a show at Place Des Arts or Theatre St-Denis. This was one of those night that we got to enjoy some smooth jazz with Kenny G thanks to the fine people at Evenko.
The show started with Kenny G himself coming down the left aisle of the theatre doing what he is known for— playing the hell out of that saxophone! He walked right by me with his long curly hair right out of a Pert Plus commercial smelling of strawberries and sex appeal. At 61 he has aged very well. Yeah, can you believe he’s in his sixties? Makes me feel old! I remember listening to him at a young age and always having been intrigued by his style and why he was always adding a bit of some joke. He embraced that, and is the first one to make some jokes about it. The guy is one of the best selling jazz artists, so I guess he has the right to! I know not everyone is a fan, but this time I was buying what he was selling from the first note to the final breath. He made the crowd weep, and he let us know that this night was going to be about sax education!
He’s a funny dude, and he told us he had been with his band for over thirty years, which is impressive. Just as impressive is the fact that he is still playing a sax he got in high school. He was quick to say that this goes to prove that if you blow anything for forty years, they will stay! It was refreshing to have him be very candid with the crowd and try to speak French, which I thought he did very well. He got a great big applause for that.
We all know that Kenny G is a legend, but what I didn’t realize was how good his band was. Every one of them had a spot in their set to show off their talents, which I thought was exceptional. Their percussionist Ron Powell is a mad man; the dude was insane!
It was a brilliant show with a quick twenty minute intermission, the second act being Kenny G again playing a two hour set of classic G with some holiday classics. I’m no expert on Kenny G so I can’t tell you all the songs he played or all the jokes he said, but what I can tell you is you should have been there. Two of my favourite performances of the night were “Santa is Coming to Town” and “My Heart Will Go On.”
I have to admit that this was one of my favourite shows of the year! If you have a chance, see this man.
Written by Eric Bisson
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Lia Davis