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Why Kenny G's Hair Is the Most Dependably Great Thing In Music

One of the best things about life is spontaneity. Adventures and experiences, big or small, that happen on a whim can make life pretty fucking fun. Especially because, for most of us, the rest of that time is bogged down by realities like jobs, school, and bills; when we can roll with some spur-of-the-moment idea, all the better.

Since we do have all that real-life bullshit to tend to, we count on life's consistencies to give us a little balance. Even if it's something we don't think about on the regular, just knowing it's out there -- hanging out and staying the same -- helps keep us slightly grounded. It's important to have some things we can count on.

One of those things is Kenny G's hair.

The master of smooth jazz is as recognizable for his ringlets -- so glorious they make a case for bringing back the ubiquitous perm of the '70s and '80s -- as he is his tiny saxophone. Okay, maybe they don't make the case for the perm -- you can plumb your family photo albums to see those monstrosities. But in Kenny's case, it's real and it's spectacular. He's been delivering his hirsute light jazz to the public since 1982; let's take a look at the non-evolution of his majestic Jew-fro from then to now.

The '80s: Proto-Kenny

In this one, Kenny seems like he's trying to go out of his way a little to embrace a jazzy look. It's one of the rare pics where he doesn't look like he just walked off the deck of a sailboat, having saxophoned the Swarovski-bedazzled panties off a group of Bravo TV's Real Housewives.

It's a different kind of casual Kenny, rocking the funky goggles and jeans. Hair, though, is essential Kenny -- long curls -- with only the curly bangs separating him from the style that we've come to count on.

The '90s: Peak Kenny

Here, we find him in 1992, bangs having been done away with for a good few years now. This era marks the beginning, hair-wise, of the Kenny we can count on. The locks are both light and tight and arranged in a side part, with the bulk of his mane favoring the right side.

Gone, also, is that groovy-jazz-guy factor; lost are the hip glasses and the profile shot that emits a little mystery. It's Kenny G in full tilt, facing the camera all windblown and smiling.

2000-??: Kenny the Institution

In this full-frontal Kenny shot, taken in the neighborhood of 2012, Kenneth Bruce Gorelick appears to be as laid back as ever. Sure, we can catch a little age on his face, if we get on in there for a close-up look, but that's just living, right?

Kudos to the man for laying off the Botox, 'cause there is just a little something about him that says he may -- even just for a second -- may have entertained the thought.

Nevertheless, his sporty-but-cool-guy attire says that he's taking aging in stride. And the hair? There it is, just how we need it to be -- gently touching the shoulders, scrunch divided by his patent side part. So there's no option now for bringing back those wild-man bangs, but thanks, Kenny, because even in 2013 we can sink into that 'do that we've come to know and breathe a little sigh that maybe, just maybe, everything is going to be okay.

Kenny G and his hair perform tonight at Ovations Live! in Chandler.

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Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young