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New Standards

Many will agree that Kenny G set the standard for modern contemporary saxophone, performing in an era that saw the birth of what would become known and loved as smooth jazz and becoming an international star among music fans across several genres. So it’s interesting that the best selling instrumentalist of our time takes his latest step forward by taking a few steps back. That is, back to an era of jazz music defined by style, romance and sheer sophistication.

New Standards is the long awaited project from this Grammy winning saxophonist with a mission to pay tribute to the jazz sound of the ‘50s and '60s era. No, these are not covers of ballads composed by some of the masters of jazz, but rather written by Kenny himself along with a team of talented composers.

The 11-song album combines Kenny’s signature saxophone style with gentle melodies and backing accompaniment of strings, piano and other instrumentation presented in an orchestral arrangement. The first two singles, 'Emeline' and 'Legacy' (Featuring The Sound Of Stan Getz) offer listeners an enchanting introduction to Kenny’s unique concept of recreating the jazz sound related to a specific era. 'Paris By Night' evokes thoughts of the City Of Lights aglow and is steeped in romance; 'Blue Skies' is delicately warm and hopelessly uplifting.

New Standards is by far the most unique and endearing project the saxophonist has released in his nearly four-decade superstar career. That he and his co-writers successfully conceived of and achieved an album that is not simply recreations of classic jazz era classics is in itself a major accomplishment. He says, “For this album, I wanted to try to recreate those ‘sounds’, but do it in my own way, which for me meant I would have to compose the songs myself. So I set out to compose and perform songs that capture the heart and soul of those beloved Jazz Standards and to record them my way”.

New Standards is indeed a window to a past era, a lost era of music that was rich, refined and lustrous. , In honouring that sound with original material, combined with passion and sophistication, Kenny G and his ultra-talented team of writers and musicians​ may have set a new standard for reliving that era.

Reviewed by Stu Berketo

On-Air Host


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