Kenny G dazzled fans with his soprano saxophone Wednesday (April 8) for his Billboard Live At-Home performance to raise money for Direct Relief, which provides emergency aid to displaced people all over the world.
The superstar instrumentalist stepped out of his comfort zone for this special gig, as he confessed to fans all over the world he’s not used to “talking to a computer, all alone in my studio, trying to manage all of this, letting you hear me play when I usually don’t let this kind of stuff out unless I’m at my concerts.”
But the adjustment sounded more seamless than stammered, as Kenny G amplified his high-school sax (“which actually scientifically proves you blow something for over 40 years, you’re gonna stay together,” he teased) through speakers to make the virtual audience feel as if they were in a concert hall. His grand home studio added to the aesthetic of the polished performance, which he admitted he feared wouldn’t sound that way because the songs weren’t mixed.
But the 63-year-old saxophonist wanted to channel the greatest time of year to lift people’s spirits, as his first official song in the set was his “Deck the Halls / The Twelve Days of Christmas” medley from his 2002 holiday album, Wishes: A Holiday Album.
“It’s the wrong time to hear this,” the Grammy award-winning musician warned, “but when I play my concerts, everybody asks me about my Christmas music.”
Before getting into the swing of things, Kenny G held a holiday storytime about the impetus for his holiday albums. “I would go to holiday parties and I would hear the music, and it would be one great song by, like, Nat King Cole or Johnny Mathis. And then after one song, then they got into some sort of a weird rhythmical polka version of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’ And it blew the vibe.”
So Kenny G swooped in to “keep the vibe,” which proves to triumph whatever the season. His swanky spin on the classic carols turned his impromptu springtime jam session into a cozy Christmas concert, which better settled in fans in their homes.
Watch Kenny G’s Christmastime Billboard Live At-Home concert above, and donate to Direct Relief here.