[HOT TRACK]Saxophonist's latest output is a little too smooth

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[HOT TRACK]Saxophonist's latest output is a little too smooth

The saxophonist Kenny G once said that he likes Japanese food such as sushi because he prefers fare that is light and simple. That description would also fit his easy-listening music, which is often called smooth jazz. With his trademark long and wavy locks and comfortable smile, Kenny G since the mid-1980s has been one of the world's best-selling instrumentalists.

Born Kenneth Gorelick in Seattle, Kenny G has stayed atop the smooth jazz scene over 13 albums, even though critics have never been enthusiastic about his work. But unkind words from critics don't hurt Kenny G too much -- he looks rather satisfied with his sales totals, which were up around 30 million copies recently.

Indeed, in contrast to the critics, the public has taken to this instrumentalist, especially Koreans; how can you dislike a guy who can hold a note for more than one minute? And now he's all set to boost those sales numbers with his first studio album in six years, "Paradise."

Kenny G debuted in 1982 with a self-titled album; but his breakthrough came in 1986 with the album "Duotones" and the classic number, "Songbird," which, incidentally, goes well with sushi. This time, however, Kenny G tries to flavor up the mix, adding spices like Brazilian bossa nova and Spanish guitar. The album opens with "Brazil," with danceable and uplifting rhythms. Before long, the saxophone takes the lead, but unfortunately it goes limp in busy notes that go nowhere.

Next is the title track, which is your standard soft and melodious but a tad boring Kenny G number. An ambitious cut follows: "Malibu Dreams," which, with a repetitious melody line, sounds not at all like a titillating Malibu but more like a humdrum city subway. The spices start to clash on "Spanish Nights," when Kenny G awkwardly attempts the bossa nova feel.

A high note on the disk is "One More Time," when the sax is complemented by a rhythm and blues songstress, Chante Moore, who does some quality crooning. Probably the best track is "Ocean Breeze," which features a delectable romantic touch. But the mood vanishes on the hollow and soporific "Falling in the Moonlight."

This album is like a soup made by an overambitious cook who's trying to put in all kinds of ingredients, but ends up with something as dull as dishwater.

by Chun Su-jin

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