Bryson has style Kenny G just galls

June 11, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

For years, David Letterman has been subtly poking fun at pop saxophonist Kenny G, and it only took the third song of last night's summer kickoff concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion to fully grasp why.

At the end of the coda that introduced "Silhouette," Kenny G produced a single shrill note from his soprano sax that stretched out for nearly two interminable minutes, and caused more than a few audience members to cover their ears in pain.

The moment was undoubtedly designed to demonstrate the virtuosity of G, which stands for Gorelick but more accurately brought home his total self-indulgence.

Gorelick brandishes his horn much the way a snake charmer would, using it to entice the willing listener into his lair but then offering little emotional payoff while seeming to invest precious little effort of his own.

For instance, last night's oppressive heat caused singer Peabo Bryson to sweat profusely on the mildly interesting duet "By the Time the Night is Over." Gorelick, though wearing a jacket and jeans, hardly wiped his brow.

For flat-out style and grace, it was difficult to top Bryson's opening 45-minute set, a fine display of the art of balladeering.

Fate and Luther Vandross conspired to take the crown of soul crooner extraordinaire from Bryson, who lately has been content to retool his career by singing movie theme songs, namely "A Whole New World" from "Aladdin" and the title song from "Beauty and the Beast."

While Bryson earned richly deserved standing ovations for his theme songs, the true treat of the set was his sensuous closing number, "Feel the Fire," which was lost on recent converts but appreciated by those who enjoy romantic singing at its best.

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