Like jazz fusion artists George Howard and Najee, sax player Kenny Gorelick, better known as Kenny G, plays pleasant, mostly instrumental melodies. But he is gifted with an almost otherworldly lung power, and, unlike the others, he has the good sense to liven things up with plenty of percussion.
Saturday night at Constitution Hall, Kenny G and a top-notch six-piece band played a satisfying concert, showcasing his extraordinary playing while performing both the mellow instrumentals from his first LP and the R&B-influenced numbers from his more recent records. During his seemingly endless sax solos it appeared that his instrument was powered by some other force, perhaps a deity backstage. After a soulful rendition of his hit "Love on the Rise," when Kenny G got the first of three standing ovations, he shrugged at the loud applause and gestured toward his sax, as if to give it all the credit.
The show included "What Does It Take? (To Win Your Love)," a remake of Junior Walker and the All-Stars' 1969 hit, and the relatively rocking "Slip of the Tongue." Whenever the concert was threatened by an impending sugary blandness, it was saved by a gorgeous piano number, a twangy bass solo or another haunting melody from Kenny G's sax.
While blowing his sax, Kenny G smiled with his eyes, and even with his mouth, obviously having a great time. And from all appearances, so was the audience.