"Part of the reason that they did Frappuccino was people like me giving them that kind of feedback," he says.
Kenny G: saxophone god, adult contemporary icon… blended beverage visionary? The best-selling jazz musician claims in a new interview that he is at least partially responsible for bringing the Frappuccino, a frozen coffee drink, to Starbucks back in the 1990s.
Kenny G tells Bloomberg that he was one of the earliest investors in the coffee giant, after his uncle gave Starbucks chairman/CEO Howard Schulz some seed money for the company and tipped off his Seattle-based nephew to the new investment prospect. "I met Howard, [and] I don't know anything about coffee but Howard -- charismatic, smart -- he just had this energy and I go, 'I don't know what he's really talking about when it comes to coffee, but this is a winner,'" he says. The 58-year-old smooth jazz legend continues by saying that he did not just invest in Starbucks during the early years -- he helped reshape their menu, by suggesting that they carry milkshake-like beverages that eventually became Frappuccinos.
"At the beginning, Starbucks didn't have anything but coffee," he recalls. "And there was another company, Coffee Bean, that had something called 'blended' that was a sweet drink and people were lined up around the block. And I would always call Howard and say, Howard, there's this thing that they do there that's like a milkshake or whatever. And so I think that I -- part of the reason that they did Frappuccino was people like me giving them that kind of feedback. So I would like to think that I was partially responsible for that."
And what happens to be Kenny G's favourite Starbucks drink? "I'm a sweet guy, so I'll go for the Frappuccino," he declares.
Kenny G's latest album, a bossa nova collection titled Brazilian Nights, was released on Tuesday (Jan. 27). Somehow, it is not being sold at Starbucks. (Bron: Billboard.com)
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