Curtain opens, stage black, spotlight focused on man with curly hair who bolts upright in bed…
Kenny G: I’ve produced 12 studio albums, 5 holiday albums, 2 live albums, and 8 Greatest Hits packages which some critics claim proves Armageddon has begun but have yet to produce enough exciting new material for a 13th album. I wish I could sleep!
Kenny buries his face in his hands.
Mist begins to waft across the stage.
A door lit from beyond by a “heavenly light” opens and in walks Count Basie.
The strains of One O’clock Jump, one of Basie’s theme songs, can be heard as he walks through the door.
Kenny G: Who’s there?
Count: It’s me, Count Basie, don’t you know your jazz heritage? Oh, I forgot you’re one of those easy listening artists misclassified as jazz. You can just call me the Ghost of Past Jazz.
Kenny G: I’m stuck. I can’t seem to come up with another album of material.
Count: Why not just record cats screwing? That’s what most of your albums sound like anyway!
Kenny G: I’m serious!
Count: So I’m I! Why not consider working with musicians who are better than you. I’ve worked with some of the greats, Louie Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald. Who have you worked with?
Kenny G: I’ve worked with a lot of the modern greats, Dudley Moore, Michael Bolton, and Whitney Houston.
Count: You call those people great? Dudley’s dead, Michael cut his hair and hasn’t put out a Grammy winning album since, and Whitney was too busy smoking’ crack to care about good music. You have to work with people who will help you to discover a soul for jazz! It’s not supposed to smooth. It’s supposed to be ragged, passionate, and erratic and at times smooth but there must be some tension to create great music. Remember when you were a teenager?
Kenny G: Yes, when I worked with Barry White and played with his orchestra when I was just 17. He was impressed with my mastery of the blues scale!
Count: Yes, get back to that. Get back to the funk, blues, jazz, and passion of Barry White and his orchestra.
Count slowly steps out of the door and into a mist.
Kenny G: If only I could sleep.
A knock at the window.
Kenny G: Who’s there?
Dave Brubeck: You don’t recognize the improvisational jazz piano of one of the greats? It’s me Dave Brubeck or the Ghost of Jazz Not-So-Past.
Kenny G: Count Basie was already here. What could you possibly want?
Dave: Some of my best music and most joyful times came from playing my with quartet. Have you considered working with other musicians?
Kenny: Well, Count made the same point but I told him I’ve worked with some of the greats, Dudley, Michael, Whitney, et al.
Dave: Et al, now there’s a great jazz musician! Kenny, your stuff is too smooth. In fact, it’s so smooth its like a vanilla milkshake, no taste unless you add hot fudge. You have to learn to employ different time signatures while superimposing contrasting rhythms, meters, and tonalities. That’s how you create real jazz!
Kenny: I will!
Dave: And remember, try a different sax every now and then. You keep playing that soprano and people are going want to kill themselves while listening to one of your “albums.” Change it up! Take risks! And for God’s sake, get a hair cut! It’s 2009!
Dave climbs out the window and disappears into the night to the sounds of Dave Brubeck’s jazz piano.
Kenny tosses and turns trying to sleep until an eerie red glow and more mist appears below his bed.
From underneath is bed fellow modern jazz saxophonist Dave Koz appears shrouded by a long dark robe until he removes the hood.
Kenny G: Are you the Ghost of Future Jazz?
Dave: Shakes his head yes without saying a thing except to play a few notes on his saxophone hanging around his neck.
Kenny G: I thought you were Richard Marx? But I know he no longer has much a career either.
Dave holds the sax angrily above his head as if threatening to hit Kenny.
Kenny G: I don’t want to be you. In fact, I don’t want to be me. I’ll repent and shake things up. I’ve listened to the spirits. I know what I need to do.
As Kenny keeps repeating the above dialogue after having fallen to his knees, Dave Koz disappears into the red mist.
The stage does dark and then all lights come on as if morning has arrived.
Kenny wakes up, and begins to dial his cell phone.
Kenny: Hello, is this Bugge Wesseltoft, the improvisational jazz musician, pianist, and composer from Norway who’s played with John Scofield? Are you busy this month? I’d like to record with you! Great! I’ll see you soon. Kenny calls Christian McBride, famous jazz bassist who’s played with Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and James Brown. Kenny: Christian? It’s me, Kenny G! I need some soul, funk, and r & b on my next record. Are you free? Great! I’ll see you soon!
Kenny: (excitedly) I’ve got the name of my next album Kenny G: Drops His Balls!
Curtain closes to the sounds of improvisational jazz.