HBO DOCUMENTARY ‘LISTENING TO KENNY G’, A PORTRAIT OF ONE OF THE MOST BELOVED AND REVILED FIGURES IN JAZZ, DEBUTS DECEMBER 2
HBO’s LISTENING TO KENNY G, part of the Music Box series, directed by Penny Lane (“Hail Satan?”) and executive produced by Bill Simmons (HBO’s “Andre The Giant,” “Showbiz Kids”) takes a humorous but incisive look at the saxophonist Kenny G, the best-selling instrumental artist of all time, and quite possibly one of the most famous living musicians. LISTENING TO KENNY G investigates the artist formerly known as Kenneth Gorelick, unravelling the allure of the man who played jazz so smoothly that a whole new genre formed around him, and questioning fundamental assumptions about art and excellence in the process. In his own words, Kenny G speaks candidly about his musical background, his stringent work ethic, and his controversial standing in the jazz canon.
LISTENING TO KENNY G debuts THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max. The weekly series will air on subsequent Thursdays at the same time and will be available to stream on HBO Max.
Through several interviews with renowned jazz critics, music professors and writers, and including a new in-depth, intimate interview with the artist, LISTENING TO KENNY G is a multifaceted exploration of the two extremes between the musician’s critics and his superfans, revealing a meditation on the larger idea of artistic taste and how our musical preferences define us.
Alternatively playful and probing, the documentary traces the artist’s career through pivotal moments: playing “Songbird” on The Tonight Show, his monumental record sales, his crushing reviews, his newfound fans on social media and his recent collaborations with Kanye West, The Weeknd and others. Dismissed by the media and mocked by the jazz establishment, Kenny G nevertheless embraces his detractors. Aware of how he is often perceived, he nevertheless strives to perfect his craft and to continually move forward in a changing musical landscape. What emerges in LISTENING TO KENNY G is the portrait of an obsessive musician who still practices three hours a day in an effort to rise above his critics and to satisfy his fans, while also exceling at many of his hobbies, including golfing, flying, and investing.
HBO Documentary Films’ presents a Ringer Films Production in association with Spinning Nancy. Music Box series created by Bill Simmons; LISTENING TO KENNY G directed by Penny Lane; produced by Gabriel Sedgwick; co-produced by Nickolas Hasse; executive produced by Bill Simmons; Jody Gerson, Marc Cimino; co-executive produced by Geoff Chow, Sean Fennessey, Noah Malale. For HBO: senior producer, Tina Nguyen; executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.