Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats
I think we need to consider how much music is crossover. For instance, if Grover Washington or David Sanborn is considered to be jazz, then why not Kenny G?
Kenny is playing pretty well the same genre IMO, just that the other guys are groovier. Maybe that's the difference? Kenny's playing is like David S under sedation :)
There is a jazz pathway - a lineage - that lead us to Kenny G. The music crossed over and crossed over until KG arrived, in what was a pretty logical progression. If KG didn't exist he'd have to be invented - he was inevitable when you look at the changes in the musical climate over the past few decades.
As an equivalent, Jimi Hendrix played rock. So does Green Day. The guitars and drums are still loud but that's where the similarity ends.
Just because the new kid on the block brings down the neighbourhood doesn't mean s/he doesn't live there. Rock is a little less exclusive because it has a lower musical status, so Green Day is "rock", although some gatekeeper types might disagree. To say "I'm a jazz musician" implies a baseline level of skill, and that "baseline" is pretty damn high! That's why people talk about jazz snobs lol
Definition doesn't entirely depend on public perception, it also depends on peer acceptance.
For instance, for a person to be considered Aboriginal in Australia they must be accepted as such by the Aboriginal community. So if a person only has an Aboriginal grandmother and is as white as can be, if they are accepted by the Aboriginal community then they are eligible for grants programs etc. It should be said that being accepted by the the Aboriginal community as one of them is not as easy as it may sound.
So Kenny IS a jazz musician if you talk about broader public perceptions but he is NOT a jazz player when it comes to peer acceptance. Paradoxes exist in this life. Think Schrödinger's cat :)
Trying to squeeze either/or cases into a neat box is both inaccurate and misleading - unless you're in marketing or politics of course, in which case it's all in a day's work :)