The sounds of the season had a jazz-inspired feel last week courtesy of Kenny G.
The saxophonist brought his highly spirited holiday show to The Venue at Hammond's Horseshoe Casino on Dec. 20. His 90-minute concert was filled with a mix of Grammy-winning hits as well as popular holiday tunes.
Kenny G, backed by his five-member band, proved he hasn't lost his energy for live performances as he delivered passionate renditions of his signature tunes and unique takes on the holiday classics.
The musician also exhibited a convivial spirit throughout the concert as he addressed audience members and told a few jokes and stories, including one about a past visit and performance at the White House where he performed at a State Dinner.
Among highlighted tunes on the playlist were his hits "Songbird" and "Forever in Love," and a bossa nova selection "Desafinado" made famous by Stan Getz. Kenny's saxophone stylings were clear and crispy throughout the show but were occasionally drowned out by the heavy bass and drum sounds of his band.
Holiday songs delivered by the saxophonist included "Deck the Halls," "White Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," "Sleigh Ride," and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
Kenny, a native of Seatle, pointed out that he and his band all came out of "the public school system" and shared his pride of that fact with his audience.
The musician also said the saxophone he was playing during the beginning portion of his show had a long history.
"This is a soprano sax," he told fans. "This is the same saxophone I've had since I was in high school." He also mentioned he'd be giving a saxophone away to a lucky audience member later in the show.
When that time came around, he brought up the recipients of the saxophone, played it for the winning couple and then handed it to them to take home.
In a previous interview, Kenny explained that it's his tradition to give away a saxophone at every show. And all audience members have a chance to win. Anyone who purchases a CD at his concerts are given a blue ticket that's placed in a bowl from which the musician picks a winner.