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Kirk Whalum

From his early days in Memphis where he played in his father's church choir, veteran saxophonist Kirk Whalum drew inspiration from the rich musical traditions of that city, including gospel, R&B, blues, and eventually jazz. He received a scholarship to attend music school at Texas Southern University, where he formed a band in 1979 and began playing shows on the local club circuit. When he opened for Bob James in Houston in 1984, the pianist was impressed with Whalum's expressive style, and invited him to play on his album 12. Whalum soon signed with Columbia Records and released his first solo album, Floppy Disk, in 1985. That album (as well as the next two, 1988's And You Know That! and 1989's The Promise) was produced by James, continuing the musicians' fruitful partnership. The early '90s saw Whalum issuing two more albums on the Columbia label -- Caché in 1993 and In This Life in 1995 -- each of them earning the saxophonist increased commercial attention and critical praise. Later, a duet with James titled "Joined at the Hip" took Whalum's career to a new level, as the song garnered Whalum his first Grammy nomination.

In 1997, Whalum jumped labels to sign with Warner Bros. His first solo album on Warner's tab, Colors, was released that same year, and perhaps more than any other album, showed Whalum's ability to synthesize music from a variety of sources to produce a fusion of pop, jazz, and R&B. The following year, Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter 1 exhibited his ability to return to the music of his childhood stylistically, while also pursuing the kind of spiritual depth that has a long history in jazz, echoing artists like John Coltrane in taking advantage of the saxophone's unique expressive qualities. The decade also brought Whalum an amazingly diverse series of session and touring jobs, working with artists like Whitney Houston, Babyface, Yolanda Adams, Take 6, Bebe & Cece Winans, Barbra Streisand, Edwin Hawkins, Quincy Jones, Kevin Mahogany, Al Green, and Luther Vandross. In addition to his solo albums, Whalum worked on a number of film scores, including those for The Prince of Tides, Boyz in the Hood, Grand Canyon, and Cousins. His sax solo was featured on Whitney Houston's wildly popular single "I Will Always Love You," on the soundtrack for The Bodyguard.

The fan base that Whalum had been building throughout the '80s and '90s exploded with his 1998 release, For You, which spent nearly two years at the top of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart and yielded four Top Ten NAC hits. His self-produced album, 2000's Hymns in the Garden, made a much quieter impact but was critically acclaimed, even earning Whalum a second Grammy nomination. Also in 2000, Whalum recorded again for Warner Bros. and released Unconditional, his third album for the label. Unconditional returned to the contemporary jazz style that had marked his early releases, with a few unexpected covers, including versions of Macy Gray's "I Try" and *NSYNC's "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You." "Can't Stop the Rain," a song written and sung by Shai, is the only other song on the album not composed by Whalum. Since 2001, Whalum has released four studio albums, including his second volume of gospel songs, The Gospel According to Jazz: Chapter 2, and Kirk Whalum Performs the Babyface Songbook, released on Rendezvous Music in 2005. In 2008, Whalum released Promises Made, a benefit album for the Millennium Project dedicated to the relief of hunger, disease prevention, and economic development in Africa. In 2010, Whalum issued The Gospel According to Jazz: Chapter III. This volume included appearances by George Duke, Lalah Hathaway, Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Kevin Whalum, among others. Whalum was made President and CEO of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music later in the year, and in August, he released Everything Is Everything: The Music of Donny Hathaway, his second album of the year on Rendezvous Music. ~ Stacia Proefrock
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Romance Language

1. They Say It's Wonderful

2. Dedicated To You

3. My One And Only Love

4. Lush Life

5. You Are Too Beautiful

6. Autumn Serenade

7. Almost Doesn't Count

8. I Wish I Wasn't

9. I Wanna Know

10. Spend My Life With You

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Track List: Everything Is Everything - The Music Of Donny Hathaway

1. Giving Up

2. Someday We'll All Be Free

3. We're Still Friends

4. Love Love Love

5. A Song For You

6. Valdez In The Country

7. Je Vous Aime (I Love You)

8. You Had To Know

9. Tryin' Times

10. We Need You Right Now

11. Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)

x

Track List: Roundtrip

1. Courtney

2. Desperately

3. Ruby, Ruby, Ruby

4. Glow

5. The Wave

6. Big Ol' Shoes

7. Inside

8. In A Whisper

9. Round Trip

10. Back In The Day

11. Afterthought

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Track List: Into My Soul

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Track List: The Best Of Kirk Whalum

1. Desperately

2. Glow

3. Rodeo

4. The Promise

5. Afterthought

6. I Receive Your Love

7. The Wave

8. Kyle's Smiles

9. Peaceful Hideaway

10. Through The Fire

11. Where I Come From

12. Love Is A Losing Game

13. X-Factor

14. Over The Rainbow

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Track List: Unconditional

1. Now 'Til Forever

2. Groverworked & Underpaid

3. God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You

4. Unconditional

5. Can't Stop The Rain

6. Song For Evan

7. I Try

8. Playing With Fire

9. Real Love (feat. Wendy Moten)

10. Waltz For David

x

Track List: He's Been Just That Good (Radio Single)

1. He's Been Just That Good

x

Track List: Make Me A Believer (Radio Single)

1. Make Me A Believer

Comments

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Looking forward to rhe upcoming BWB CD
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How are the "Saints?"... . t h e ones i know. This evening. Throughout the City of Saint Jude....Mont g o m e r y , A l
All a way to.
Washington, D.C.
Even beyond...... t o the Eastern Shore of Providence Rhode Island. USA
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God bless this artist so great to my ears my heaven god has truly blessed him with a gift,��
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jvealjr26
An awesome musician who I have followed since the early 80s. You can feel the spirit in his music...
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I to am from Memphis know of the family of Kirk God sent
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Fall in love with Jesus and see what happens..... I dare you....
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I still remember Kirk coming to OKC several years ago to perform. People had no idea who he was and several hundered tickets were given away just to fill seats. About halfway into the show Kirk said, I'm sure many of you are wondering who I am and what have I done. I'm going to play something that will let you know some of my work. Then he played the solo to I will always Love You. Folk dang near lost their minds! All you heard was, I know you! He has no trouble selling out OKC now! LOL!
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george19428
Hello simply like kirk stile one of my favorite
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sheffield57
With u yes
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I have listened to Kirk several time both here in Kansas City when he comes to visit his Mother and also at the Capital City Jazz Festival where he has performed over the years. I think that he is an incredibly gifted musician and the best saxophonist that I have ever heard live or recorded!

LT
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bmannointed
I throughly enjoy Kirk's music. He came to Houston a few years ago and did a Christmas show with Peter White. They tore it up. The fusion was wonderful. I'm over 60 and the music make you feel like you can move like 20 yes ago. Keep doing what you do!! I love it !!
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I love Kirk Whalen and I love Pandora especially the Smooth Jazz Station
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LOVE Pandora Jazz but how do I create a station for my favorites and add artists? I tried and it just played the artist I selected. I wonder do you have a place to store all favorites and play those. Am I making sense? LOVE :-)
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Yes i love him
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Pandora; your doing a magnificent job on replanting all the jazz I've grown up listening to. Thank you very much
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Amen....Amen ~ F a l l i n g in LOVE with JESUS~
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KEEP THE PRAISE GOING ALL THE WAY GOD BLESS YOU
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Giving my life to Jesus and falling in with Him is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Now that i gave my life to Jesus i get to keep it forever
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1idris.kashi f 9 3 2 8
Kirk..., from the Roof (Houston Galleria) to the Heavens! Surely GOD is worthy of our praise. He gives us musicians to lift up HIS name and keep us mellow! Kirk is one of those
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Great music for the soul.
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roham8
Wrk'd with Stax in LA '73-76, w/ Chico Hamilton's son Forrest. Long Live Jazz, MrKW
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catinhat.cd
Best thing I ever done was turn my life over to Jesus.
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Great rendition. Surely misd Luther.andro s s . RIP
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Great sax man!
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Falling in love with Jesus.
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Kirk Whalum is a magnificent Jazz musician & a man after GOD'S Own Heart.
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tamlong8
I love this song so uplifting
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Kirk can really do justice with one of my favorite instruments. Great to listen to him. Love the music.
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tarawhite124
Glory!!!!
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Thank you Jesus!
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catinhat.cd
God,Jesus,mo t h e r , a n d you was the best thing i ever done....i open heart too you in marriage never thought about cheating on you but gain love,and happiness all days of my too carry through the bad storm of life.
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All Time Favorite Song! Praise God!
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I love this song! I'm falling in love with JESUS..
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God is good
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lavonnefield s
What can I say!!!!!!! Loving it !!! :-)
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This song is beautiful!
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His performance at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival in April of this year was awesome.....
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I Luv You Jesus!
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Thank You Jesus
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This music is awesome, its great to listen to when its just the two of u....love it!!!!
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My Wedding Song
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NO PLACE I RATHER BE JESUS THAN IN YOUR ARMS AMEN lowery247
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Alfoti1940

Into My Soul gets into my soul Kirk!
Love listening to one of the smoothest reed players I've ever heard!
GOD Bless!
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You may fall in,or out......aro u n d & about......b u t . . . . . . u n t i l you accept an un-condition a l LOVE.
The Prince-of-Pe a c e . . . . K I N G OF KINGS....WON D E R F U L COUNSELOR... h a s to rapture you with. Your experience. Will never be a comparison in or out of living...... . . . .
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Kirk whalum
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I praise danced to this song at a jazz gospel event and I was soooo filled with God's presence. It was amazing. This song is a great sound, the words will resonate with u and have no choice but to Praise God!
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Why don't all the "Smooth Jazz" artists get together for a HUGE BLOWOUT " some where some city some day.
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A special God given talent. Beautiful!!! ! ! !
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denisecollie r 0 9
LOVE!
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