Seattle’s own Kenny G talks music and food with Rachel Belle. Oh, and he says he didn’t invent the Frappuccino!

May 7, 2018, 5:46 PM
LISTEN: Seattle's own Kenny G talks music and food with Rachel Belle. Oh, and he didn't invent the Frappuccino!

Kenny G is one of the best selling artists of all time. He’s sold more than 75 million records and made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for holding the longest note on a saxophone. He’s also from Seattle. Kenny G went to Franklin High School, where he played in the jazz band with the piano player who has been playing with his band for 30 years.

But when Kenny G got to Franklin and tried out for the jazz band, he didn’t get in. After a second attempt he joined the band and when he was 17 his very first paycheck came from going on a little tour with Barry White.

“That’s all because of going to Franklin High School in Seattle and the fact that we had a composer in residence,” Kenny G said, from his home in Malibu. “His name was Jim Gardiner; he’s still alive, by the way. He was talking to some friend of his that happened to mention that he was putting together the orchestra for Barry White when he came to the Northwest. Barry White’s sax player wasn’t coming and they needed to find a guy who could play R&B style but improvised and read music. My band director said, ‘Well, the only guy I know who could do that is this kid in my high school band.’ And that’s how I got the gig. The biggest problem was that I didn’t have a black suit. I’m 17 and clothes were not important to me. I just had some sort of a checkered blazer that I wore at my bar mitzvah. I brought that to the gig and they said, ‘You’ve got to find a black jacket!'”

Kenny G is the latest guest on my podcast “Your Last Meal,” and when I was searching around online for any food related associations, I saw a bunch of articles that said he helped invent Starbucks’ Frappuccino.

“I did not invent the Frappuccino, so I take no credit for that. But the truth is that I did meet Howard Schultz back in in the early days when he was just getting started with Starbucks and raising money. My uncle told me that I should meet him and invest in this coffee company. My uncle was one of the bigger Jewish businessmen in Seattle. One of the things he invested in was Starbucks and he said, ‘Hey, you should do this!’ So I met Howard and was super captivated by his personality, he was passionate. My business people at the time told me it was too risky to invest and I just ignored them and did it anyway.”

But I did read that Kenny G walked passed a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in southern California and saw people lining up for a sweet, blended beverage, so he called Howard Schultz to report the trend.

“That’s true! But that doesn’t mean I helped invent the Frappuccino. Howard’s my friend, I’m one of the early investors, so my radar is up about anything with coffee. So when I see these things I just report them back to my friend. So that’s it. It’s not like I went in there with this recipe and said, ‘Hey man, I want to be in on the taste testing.'”

Kenny G recently sold out eight shows at Seattle’s Jazz Alley. But he’s even more popular in China, where everyone knows at least one of his songs.

“They have a tendency to take things literally. The song is called ‘Going Home’ so to them it must mean ‘time to go home.’ So at the time when the stores are closing my song comes on. It’s played throughout China, hundreds of millions of people hear it every single day and when they hear it it brings a feeling of ‘It’s time to go home’ because that’s what they’ve been taught about the song. It’s super cool!”

Kenny G shares his last meal, which supermodel gave him his pie crust recipe and the horror of having his hair product discontinued on my podcast your last meal. To listen: text KENNY G to 98973 and we’ll send you the episode. Or listen on iTunes or at www.yourlastmealpodcast.com

Follow Rachel Belle on Instagram!












  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Radio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

Rachel Belle

No one is talking about menopause, not even your doctor

Let's Talk Menopause founder Donna Klassen says most women don't know the symptoms and most medical schools don't include menopause in the curriculum. 
2 days ago
Nadiya Hussain...
Rachel Belle

New ‘Your Last Meal’: British Bake Off winner, Spice Waala brings Indian street food to Seattle

As a child, Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, felt frustrated that her dad served watered down, westernized Indian food at his restaurants.
10 days ago
Toxic positivity...
Rachel Belle

Seattle psychotherapist on how to cope with ‘season of toxic positivity’

Telling your loved ones to look on the bright side when they're feeling down is toxic positivity, and no one likes to hear it. Not even you.
17 days ago
birthday cake...
Rachel Belle

‘Your Last Meal’ podcast explores history of why we eat cake and light candles for birthdays

We all eat birthday cake, but have you ever wondered why? Award-winning chef Christina Tosi dives in on the latest episode of "Your Last Meal."
23 days ago
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is not holding a fluffernutter in this photo, but he is holdi...
MyNorthwest Staff

Dave Ross, Rachel Belle on how ‘fluffernutter’ made it into the dictionary

Fluffernutter is now in the dictionary. KIRO Radio's Dave Ross and Rachel Belle discuss that and the other new words (and phrases) that made the cut.
24 days ago
Caspar Babypants...
Rachel Belle

Seattle rocker Chris Ballew is retiring Caspar Babypants, moving on from kids’ music

After 19 albums and 13 years as Caspar Babypants, Seattle's Chris Ballew is moving on to yet another a new musical project.
25 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Seattle’s own Kenny G talks music and food with Rachel Belle. Oh, and he says he didn’t invent the Frappuccino!