Kenny G is trying something a little different with his latest album, Namaste, set for release next week from Concord Music Group. The smooth jazz/easy listening icon has collaborated with Indian santoor player Rahul Sharma in crafting seven tracks fusing traditional Indian folk and classical music with Kenny's smooth soprano sax stylings. The tracks -- which were originally released in India in 2011 -- have been remixed on the new album by Kid Tricky of the UK dance music group Bimbo Jones.
Kenny G, who had already been a fan of Sharma's work before he toured India in 2008, "bumped into [Sharma] just before getting on stage in Mumbai," the saxophonist told The Times of India. "We got chatting and decided to work on something together," he said.
The two reportedly emailed song files back and forth from opposite ends of the globe during their collaboration. "It wasn’t the usual formula of playing the melody, improvising, repeating the melody, and then doing an ending,” Kenny G said in a press release on his work with Sharma. “It was more a question of ‘Where do I fit in?'"
The Grammy Award winner has achieved tremendous popular success over the decades he has spent recording and performing: not only is he a household name, but he's one of the top-selling musicians of all time in the United States.
He's also former president Bill Clinton's favorite musical act and appeared in the 1997 Guiness Book of World Records for playing a continuous, unbroken note for 45 minutes and 47 seconds. Recently he has also added quirky indie documentary subject to his repertoire, appearing in "Kenny: A Documentary In G."
Born Kenneth Gorelick, the musician assumed his professional persona of Kenny G at an early age, after being inspired by a saxophonist he heard on The Ed Sullivan Show, he told BarnesandNoble.com. He made his first professional appearance as a teenager with Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra in 1976, and continued to perform while earning a degree in accounting from the University of Washington. His self-titled debut album was released in 1982, but it wasn't until his fourth album -- 1990's "Duotones" -- that he became a household name, thanks to his hit "Songbird."
Despite a mixed reception from some jazz fans, he's been a billboard-topper ever since; who can't hum a familiar Kenny G tune or two?
Take a listen to his new album "Namaste" above and let us know what you think in the comments. You can also watch some of the saxophonist's past performances in the slideshow below.