The first track, "Songbird" is his signature piece. Even if you're not familiar with Kenny's music, you've probably heard this one. He wrote it as a love letter to a girl he later went on to marry. It became popular after he performed it on the Johnny Carson show. Samplings of some of the other songs include "Don’t Make Me Wait For Love" featuring Lenny Williams of Tower of Power fame. This is a lovely tune and Lenny’s vocals are superb. "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)" featuring Ellis Hall, a multi instrumentalist who has worked with Earth Wind and Fire, The Temptations, Herbie Hancock and others and was once the lead vocalist for Tower of Power is excellent on this Junior Walker tune. This is one of my favorites! "We’ve Saved The Best For Last" with Smokey Robinson showcases his wonderful voice and Kenny’s smooth tones.
On "By The Time This Night Is Over" Peabo Bryson, one of the top male R & B vocalists of the last 25 years lends his rich, soulful voice to making this a beautiful love song. This is just a sampling on disc one. The next disc continues with Louis Armstrong on "What A Wonderful Life." Kenny G’s sax was melted beautifully into this original classic recording. Also of important note on this song, all proceeds went to charity to help underprivileged kids so they may have the same access to music and art! On "Even If My Heart Would Break" Aaron Neville pours his heart out to make this a lovely duet. George Benson, an eight time Grammy winning jazz guitar legend, performs the intro to the George and Ira Gershwin classic; "Summertime." Kenny makes this one his own with his sultry and smooth sax playing. I could listen to this one over and over...
Michael Bolton on "Missing You Now" featuring Kenny G is another beautiful love song, which Michael co-wrote. Michael’s singing and songwriting has earned him two Grammy’s and six American Music Awards and has sold over 52 million albums and singles worldwide. Another favorite of mine is the classic "Pick Up The Pieces" featuring the awesome David Sanborn, a master of the alto sax. (While researching this cd, I learned that David Sanborn performed at Woodstock during his five years with The Butterfield Blues Band.) From the 1997 blockbuster movie, Titanic, Kenny performs the classic "My Heart Will Go On." He captures the true essence of the song without words and does so beautifully. Chaka Khan, of Rufus fame, nails it on "Beautiful." Chaka’s vocals and Kenny’s sax are a perfect fit. This is a lovely version of Christina Aguilera’s hit. The amazing Earth Wind & Fire, a band Kenny idolized while growing up perform "The Way You Move" a funky and fun tune and a great collaboration. These are just a few of the tracks; there are so many more great songs to enjoy on this collection!
These cd's contain it all from Kenny’s classics to cover songs to holiday music. The Essential Kenny G is well done and loaded with wonderful talent from many genres. It’s a great mix of ballads and jazz infused with some funk and soul. From to Chaka Khan and Earth Wind & Fire to David Sanborn, Louis Armstrong, and Peabo Bryson. What’s not to like.