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Released: Nov. 17, 1992

Rating: 3.833 (average of 6 ratings)

Genre: AC/ smooth jazz

Quotable: “a collection of tuneful, easy-listening instrumentals” (Jeffrey Himes, with a “complete lack of soul, substance or creativity” (Alex Henderson, All Music Guide)

Album Tracks:

  1. The Joy of Life
  2. Forever in Love
  3. In the Rain
  4. Sentimental
  5. By the Time This Night Is Over [with Peabo Bryson]
  6. End of the Night
  7. Alone
  8. Morning
  9. Even if My Heart Would Break [with Aaron Neville]
  10. G-Bop
  11. Sister Rose
  12. A Year Ago
  13. Homeland
  14. The Wedding Song


sales in U.S. only 12 million
sales in U.K. only - estimated 100,000
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 17 million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 2
peak on U.K. album chart 4

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Forever in Love (11/21/92) #13a US, #47 UK, #1 AC, #73 RB. Airplay: 1 million
  • By the Time This Night Is Over (5/15/93) #24a US, #56 UK, #1 AC, #37 RB. Airplay: 1 million
  • Sentimental (12/4/93) #72 US, #27 AC
  • Even if My Heart Would Break (5/14/94) #28 AC


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame/NARM’s Definitive Albums

Kenny G
“Throughout the 1990s, Kenny G was the whipping boy of the jazz world – the instrumentalist who hardcore jazz improvisers loved to bash when the subject of smooth jazz came up. Kenny G’s huge following responded that the attacks were silly and misguided because the saxman was the first to admit that he was primarily a pop instrumentalist and wasn’t pretending to be anything else. True, it was silly for jazz artists to judge Kenny by hard bop standards when hard bop (or even soul-jazz or fusion) was a long way from what he was going for” (Henderson).

“Like its predecessors…Breathless, is a collection of tuneful, easy-listening instrumentals baited with a couple of pop-soul vocal numbers. This album is built on Kenny G’s most obvious strengths: his knack for writing hummable pop hooks and his ability to play those radio-friendly melodies in a breathy, fluid style that invites the listener to lie back and relax. When it comes to background music that’s slightly catchier and peppier than most new age music, Kenny G is a master of his genre” (Himes). He is capable of “simplifying life to a set of comfortable feelings” (Himes). “Even his wordless instrumentals push the listener's warm glow buttons while ignoring anything more complicated” (Himes).

So why the venom in the criticism against him? Isn’t an artist allowed to make the music he wants to make rather than what the critical world dictates? Well, “Breathless isn’t bad because it’s a pop album or because it’s commercial; it’s bad because of its complete lack of soul, substance or creativity…Interchangeable tunes like Sentimental, Forever In Love and End of the Night…are about as bloodless and schlocky as it gets” (Henderson). Kenny sounds “like he’s on automatic pilot” (Henderson), a sense that is enhanced by the fact that “the saxophonist himself programmed many of the drum, bass and keyboard parts” (Himes). He “takes no risks whatsoever and sees to it that one song is as shamelessly contrived as the next. Even the presence of the great R&B crooner Aaron Neville on Even if My Heart Would Break can’t save this one-dimensional release. Whether you’re into pop or jazz, Breathless is unlistenable” (Henderson).

Review Source(s):

Last updated January 30, 2009.