After listening to both of these artists play a few songs, there definitely are some distinct differences in the structures and the skills levels of Pat Metheny versus Kenny G. Pat Metheny is obviously the better instrumentalist in most of his songs compared to Kenny G’s playing abilities. Kenny G’s style seems to be to construct sounds that the ear enjoys listening to and is more of a relaxed, fun playing style. Pat Metheny seems to show his skill of playing the guitar often. I believe he feels entitled to the success that he has had because he is able to prove his skill level to people in his playing, and they seem to respect his abilities. To get an insight into the feud, click here.
Pat Metheny’s sense of entitlement although leads to some anger issues he has with other artists, in particular Kenny G. Pat Metheny does not believe Kenny G deserves the respect and the fortune he has received from the paying customers because he does not have the skill level that some of the other professional Jazz musicians have earned. Pat Metheny is primarily angry with Kenny G thinking he can break unspoken Jazz rules. He is particularly angered by the fact the Kenny G dubbed himself playing saxophone over one of Louis Armstrong’s songs. Louis Armstrong is one of the men who propelled their kind of music in the limelight. Pat Metheny feels Kenny G is okay with using somebody else’s very popular song, and play over it (and yes it was very poorly), and earn a profit and popularity over it. Metheny feels this was cheap shot at a dead man and the whole Jazz industry.
I’m inclined to agree with much of what Metheny has to say, but at the same time, I lost a lot of respect for him for how he said it. He came across as a bit of a whiner and more angry for how successful this man is, and how uses other people’s marketing skills to propel himself to success. I can agree that Kenny G is really not that great of a saxophonist, but he does know how to market himself to earn more money. I do not think it to be as serious dubbing over someone else’s song, because nearly everyone likes the original better. If he was going to overdub someone else’s music, at least do it better. You may be giving credit to the artist, but since Kenny G is such a popular artist, try harder, make it sound better, and don’t ruin a legend’s name or his song like he did.
Pat Metheny could try to handle himself a little bit more appropriately and not come off so whiny sounding. He is more angry that this man is becoming famous and earning a lot of money for not being that good. I think he is just jealous of Kenny G’s success, like many of the Jazz musicians are. But at least Kenny G does have a very basic sound that people like, and that could lead people to listen to Jazz (which, lets be honest, this is a dying music), and hopefully introduce those that are interested in Jazz into better sounding and higher quality playing of music.
Hopefully now that Kenny G is famous and popular, he will learn how to play the saxophone better and make higher quality music that Jazz fanatics of all types can appreciate. He should also stop trying to ploy himself into making money and try to do it in a more honest manner. And I also blame Jazz enthusiasts. This world is so dumbed down now that they can’t appreciate what good music is and enjoy that basic crap.