Since my mom just went to a Kenny G concert, and since Christmas is approaching, I thought now was a good time to write about a family tradition known as the “Kenny G Moment.”
Kenny G is a famous soprano saxophone player who has sold millions of albums worldwide. He’s in the Guiness Book of World Records for the longest note ever held (see his Wikipedia article here, which includes mention of that feat), and he has really long hair. He is also a great person to mock, since he plays smooth jazz, which is the jazz world’s equivalent of soft rock. Well, okay, it’s better than soft rock, but only because nothing is worse than soft rock. Except the Olson Twins.
The original Kenny G moment dates back to 1992 or 1993, when his album Breathless came out. Apparently it left women breathless, as it is still the most popular instrumental album ever released, proving that artistic integrity has nothing to do with sales. Nothing. That Christmas, my dad bought my mom that CD, not knowing that she really wanted it. So, when she opened the gift and saw that she was now the proud owner of a crappy instrumental album by a guy with hair longer than hers, she started crying. Thus was born the Kenny G moment.
Every Christmas since then, my dad (and others in my family, including me) have tried to find a gift that will create that Kenny G moment. We have succeeded with Josh Groban CDs, Paul McCartney concert tickets, and even Snoopy inside of a snow globe writing, “It was a dark and stormy night” (damn squirrel got in our house and broke the globe–true story!–and I have yet to find that object being sold for a REASONABLE PRICE–yeah, I’m talking to you, ebay scalpers!). The defining element of a Kenny G moment, however, was the defining element of that first gift, which is that the reaction is unexpected. So, in a sense, only the first Kenny G moment was a Kenny G moment, even though we never quite know what gift will make our mom cry.
Since that Christmas, other people have had Kenny G moments, as well. My dad almost had one when I bought him the Ultimate Johnny Carson Collection on DVD. I had one when my dad bought me a TV (completely unexpected–not even on my list). But usually, the Kenny G moment is linked to my mom. Now that she’s seen Kenny G live, however, perhaps we shall have to retire the Kenny G moment, for isn’t seeing Kenny G live (and from the second row–because no one goes to his concerts ;-)) the ultimate Kenny G moment?
So, dear readers, I hope many of you have Kenny G moments this holiday season. Feel free to use the phrase, too, so long as you credit it to my dad, who created the phrase (or to this blog, which popularized it). And since my mom will be reading this, too, I hope you have at least one Kenny G moment this Christmas, Mom! As long as he doesn’t come down the chimney, playing his soprano sax. Because that would just be creepy.