Don’t Laugh At Kenny G

One of the things we notice about the way Kenny G plays soprano is the angle that he creates, with the mouthpiece coming out of mouth quite dramatically to one side. I don’t know about you, but  my initial reaction was that this was just an affectation, a way of being different perhaps.

I no longer think that. And I would recommend that players take a minute to look into what this “difference” might mean to them in terms of sound and response.

A while ago, I noticed that there were other soprano players who had the same thing going on. Of course, it was not as immediately noticeable as with Kenny G, but it was there none the less.

When I noticed that Steve Lacy did it, that Sidney Bechet did it, that Jane Ira Bloom does it, that Olivier Franc does it too, I decided to try it and I was immediately taken by the changes it brought.

One thing to know is that it almost certainly will require you to put your teeth (or in my case, one tooth) onto the beak in a new way. Small change but it brought big changes.

Look at the photos here. You’ll see all of these players have some degree of “offset”.


You might want to experiment with such an adjustment. Let me know what you find. I’ll wait to hear from folks about their experience before chiming in with my own.