Originally Posted by Strangelove
Suppose Van Gogh's or Monet's descendants gave permission to some commercial artist to dub over some of their classic paintings for a cut of the profits from the sale? Do you see my point? Even though they gave permission, the artist did not, and is nothing sacred anymore when it comes to making a friggin profit these days? Why do we as musicians stand around and go along with the prostitution of our trade the way we do? I just do not understand it.
From Pat Metheny's perspective, I think it is less about the use of the video and more about lumping Kenny G in with other leading jazz artists, as he states in the original interview. it doesn't matter where and how he got permission, Pat does not see Kenny as any type of musician holding up the standard of excellence that jazz and great musicianship require.
The question is who gets to define the genre: the artists, the labels or the public. It would seem to me that the artistic community as a whole does that, which would include both Kenny G and Pat Metheny. I think it is important to listen to what they are saying. I would wonder what Kenny G thinks of Pat's statements. I notice he doesn't do this misguided bit any more.
This debate is several years old and I have found few jazz enthusiasts and artists who actually side with Kenny G. Jazz enthusiasts saw it as a real low point and smack in the face. Pat has a lot of support, and though there was not a public outcry among other leading artists, I would suspect that other artists were not happy with it. So the question is, should a player get away with doing something that disrespects other jazz artists? Should someone who is not playong jazz be marketed as a jazz icon? Obviously, it takes guts for artists to speak out and say "No, Enough already."
People will argue, art is about breaking expectation and often offending loyalists. But that is not what is going on here. This is marketing pure and simple. This is about making money. This is about positing yourself a long side one of the leading figures in jazz when you don't belong there. Metheny "His callous disregard for the larger issues of what this crass gesture implies is exacerbated by the fact that the only reason he possibly have for doing something this inherently wrong (on both human and musical terms) was for the record sales and the money it would bring."
I don't know that that was the full reason. I think it was misguided attempt "to bring jazz to the masses." One could argue well jazz is for everybody and if anything Kenny G is democratizing the genre. I would ask, Why does a specific genre of music, an artist or a style have to be for everyone? Why should a listener not have to do any study or work associated with developing a deeper understanding of what an artist is doing? Why should music need to be immediate? ?Why should it be always be banal? Why shouldn't it be something special for those who have cultivated a taste for it?