Hi again everyone!
So today i’m gonna continue with the theme i call “bedroom jazz”…but on Sunday i’m gonna have a little special since it’s easter/resurrection Sunday so stay tuned! Still it’s Thursday today so let’s continue with today’s artist Kirk Whalum.
Before i start with his background i gotta tell you that you’ve most likely heard him thou you might not be aware of it…Kirk happens to play on what have become the world’s most famous sax solo…tell you more later…So Kirk was born 1958 in Memphis, Tennessee a city known for it’s soul music with labels like Stax and Hi Records.
Pictures above shows the classic logos for legendary r&b/soul labels Stax and Hi Records in Memphis.
Since Kirk is from the southern U.S. no surprise he just like many many others before and after him he began in the local church where his father was a pastor. Later he attented Melrose High School and Texas Southern University where he was a member of the world famous Ocean of Soul Marching Band. He grew up listening to lot’s of music and he got lots of inspiration from his grandma and 2 uncles.
Picture above shows Kirk and his uncle Hugh “Peanuts” Whalum down left.
When growing up in Memphis you’re basically surrounded by music and Kirk is no exception, he heard lots of R&B, jazz, gospel, rock. No doubt Memphis is a city of music. In 1986 he played at Jean Michel Jarre’s giant concerts Rendez-Vouz Houston and Rendez-Vouz Lyon. At each concert he did Last Rendez-Vouz also known as “Ron’s Piece” in place of both Kirk and Jean Michel’s mutual friend astronaut and saxplayr Ron McNair who died in when the space shuttle Challenger exploxed shortly after take off in early 1986.
Picture above shows a promo poster for the two giant shows Kirk did with Jean Michel Jarre in 1986.
In 1979 he formed his first band at the while beeing at the university and played at local clubs. He got the chance to open for jazz pianist Bob James in Houston 1984 and Bob got really impressed with Kirk’s expressive style and had him play on his album 12. Shortly after Kirk signed with Columbia Records and released his first solo album in 1985 Floppy Disk produced by Bob James. He actually produced Kirk’s second album And You Know That! from 1988 and the third one The Promise from 1989 as well!
Picture above showing Kirk and pianist/producer Bob James.
Well Kirk did another 2 albums for Columbia and began getting more and more commercial attention and cred from the critics. Later Kirk and Bob did an album together called “Joined at the Hip” from 1996. After that album his career really took off and he got to tour for more than 7 years with Whitney Houston and he is the guy who plays the solo on the major smash hit Whitney got with the song I Will Always Love You who was featured in the movie “Bodyguard”.
Picture above:Whitney Houston and Kirk in action.
Kirk has got 12 Grammy nominations and finally in 2011 he won his first for Best Gospel Song “It’s What I Do” featuring Lalah Hathaway and lifelong friend and songwriter Jerry Peters. The song is found on the album “Gospel According to Jazz Vol 3”. The picture is taken from the sessions of Gospel According to Jszz Vol 3. The man far right is George Duke.
As i mentioned Kirk grew up and still lives in Memphis and if i was to describe his sound and style i’d say it’s very much soul inspired but he manage jazz as well not just like r&b or so called smooth jazz. He can be funky no problems but mostly his style is kinda laid back and very smooth. Kirk is a very devoted christian and most definetely takes his faith seriously and he has his own pod cast called “Bible in your ear”. You can follow him on all the big social medias like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. So finally the song i’ve choosen is taken from his second album from 1988, picture below. The song is in, what i call, bedroom jazz style…and it’s called “Give Me Your Love”.
Enjoy your listening as always!!
Tags: #worldofslickmusic #kirkwhalum #memphis #tennessee #staxrecords #hirecords #melrosehighschool #texassouthernuniversity #oceanofsoulmarchingband #hughpeanutswhalum #jeanmicheljarre #ronmcnair #houston #lyon #bobjames #columbiarecords #whitneyhouston #lalahhathaway #jerrypeter #georgeduke #facebook #instragram #twitter