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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 n 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 kept busy delivering 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. He also formed the trio BWB with trumpeter Rick Braun and guitarist Norman Brown, debuting the group with Groovin'. 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. Two years later, he 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. Also in 2010, the saxophonist was made President and CEO of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and in August, released Everything Is Everything: The Music of Donny Hathaway.

Whalum returned in 2012 with Romance Language, a sophisticated production inspired by the classic 1963 Impulse! LP John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman. Featured on the album were vocals by the saxophonist's brother, Kevin Whalum. The following year, he rejoined BWB for Human Nature. The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter 4, appeared in 2015, followed a year later by a self-titled BWB album. In 2017, Whalum delivered the gospel-themed #Lovecovers, which featured reworkings of songs by such gospel legends as Donnie McClurkin and the Clark Sisters, as well as covers of hits by Beyoncé, Dolly Parton, Stevie Wonder, and others. ~ Stacia Proefrock
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: #Lovecovers

1. Love On Top (Feat. Ruby Camille)

2. Have A Talk With God

3. You Brought The Sunshine (Feat. Angie Winans & Debbie Winans)

4. God Is Love (Feat. Kevin Whalum)

5. Holy Is The Lamb

6. Speak To My Heart (Feat. Donnie McClurkin, Angie Winans & Debbie Winans)

7. Wonderful, Merciful Savior (Feat. Nia Allen)

8. Alabaster Box

9. Tomorrow (Feat. Carvin Winans)

10. I Will Always Love You (Feat. BeBe Winans & Wendy Moten)

11. What Is This? (Feat. Donnie McClurkin)

12. Use Me

13. God Is Love (Remix)

x

Track List: The Gospel According To Jazz, Chapter IV

Disc 1

1. Just As I Am

2. Let 'Em In

3. Keep On Pushing

4. My Hero

5. Intro To This Is The Day

6. This Is The Day

7. Intro To There

8. There

9. Intro To Beauty In Strength, Strength In Weakness

10. Beauty In Strength, Strength In Weakness

11. Wait For The Sunshine

12. Intro To Un Amor Supremo

13. Un Amor Supremo

14. Intro To Triage

15. Triage

16. Avé Maria

Disc 2

1. Intro To Sunday's Best

2. Sunday's Best

3. Cain't Stay Blue

4. Intro To I See You

5. I See You

6. Intro To Madiba

7. Madiba

8. Intro To Nannette

9. Nannette

10. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child

11. Kirk's Improv

12. Love Is The Answer

x

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

x

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 (Feat. Musiq Soulchild)

4. Love Love Love (Feat. Rick Braun)

5. A Song For You

6. Valdez In The Country (Feat. Jeff Golub)

7. Je Vous Aime (I Love You)

8. You Had To Know (Feat. Lalah Hathaway)

9. Tryin' Times (Feat. Robert Randolph)

10. We Need You Right Now

11. Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)

x

Track List: Gospel According To Jazz Chapter III (Live)

Disc 1

1. Call To Worship (Live)

2. Fit To Battle (Live)

3. Ananias And Sapphira (Live)

4. Introduction To Rev (Live)

5. Rev (Live)

6. Because You Loved Me (Live)

7. Make Me A Believer (Live)

8. He's Been Just That Good (Live)

9. If You Ever Need Me (Live)

Disc 2

1. Africa Jesus Africa (Live)

2. You Are Everything (Live)

3. Smile Medley (Part 1) Smile (Live)

4. Smile Medley (Part 2) God Has Smiled On Me (Live)

5. It's What I Do (Live)

6. The Thrill Is Gone (Live)

7. Running Away (Live)

8. You Are Everything (Live)

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

x

Track List: Kirk Whalum Performs The Babyface Songbook

1. Exhale (Shoop Shoop)

2. Can We Talk?

3. I'll Make Love To You

4. For The Cool In You

5. Breathe Again

6. When Can I See You

7. Betcha Never

8. Someone To Love

9. Not Gon' Cry

10. Whip Appeal

11. I Said I Love You

12. Wey U

x

Track List: Into My Soul

1. Do You Feel Me

2. Into My Soul

3. Hold On I'm Coming

4. Another Beautiful Day

5. Hoddamile (Hot Or Mild) (feat. BWB)

6. I Loved You In Memphis (feat. Isaac Hayes & Wendy Moten)

7. That's Alright (feat. Kevin Whalum)

8. Memphis Reason

9. Club Paradise

10. You Had Me At Hello (feat. Maurice White)

11. Me, Me & You

x

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

x

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: For You

1. Anytime

2. Ascension

3. Same Ole Love

4. My All

5. That's The Way Love Goes

6. For You

7. All I Do

8. Lover For Life

9. I Want You

10. Goin' In Circles

x

Track List: In This Life

1. In This Life

2. 'Til I Get It Right

3. Drowning In The Sea Of Love

4. Peaceful Hideaway

5. I Wouldn't Be A Man

6. Living For The City

7. My Father's Hope

8. When The Night Rolls In

9. I Turn To You

10. Reck'n So

11. The Way I Need You Now

x

Track List: Cache

1. X-Factor

3. Livin' In The Streets

5. Love Saw It

6. Always A Part Of Me

7. Cache

8. The Language Of Life

9. Fall In Love Again

10. Over The Rainbow

x

Track List: The Promise

1. I Receive Your Love

2. N.E. Wind

3. The Promise

4. Ma Foi

5. L.C.'s Back

6. Desperately

7. Out-A-Hand

8. Don't Even Look

9. For All We Know

x

Track List: And You Know That!

1. Give Me Your Love

2. The Wave (1988)

3. Through The Fire

4. Seryna

5. Don't Look At Me

6. Where I Come From

7. Glow (1988)

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

Report as inappropriate
Don't read this. If you do this your crush will kiss you on Friday.
1. Say your name 10 times
2.say your mom's name 5 times
3.say your crush's name 3 times
4.paste this to 4 other groups and your crush will kiss you on Friday.
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L
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GOD. BLESS. YOU. And. YOUR. FAMILY. E. Paul T.
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Hey. Bubba. Your. Music. Is. Still. Great, After. I. Heard. You. With. The. Ocean. In. College. I. Knew. You. Were. Going. To. Be. Great. Still. Luv. Ya. E. Paul. T.
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Love you too kirk do it do it
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Listening to kirk walum while at work
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What a way to start the morning
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great
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darlenehodge s 1
So funky! I love it
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Right on!!!!!
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That's smooth kirk
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So moving. Gives you chills����
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The man!
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this is the music the will be playing in heaven
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Nice!!!!!
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Excellent I luv hiroshima
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Love this mellow music, just chilling
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I'm in a Mellow kind of mood listening to you Kirk..keep it flowing Home Boy!!!
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He has done this wonderful song it's due diligence... . . . .
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His rendition is superb!
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Doc Powell please
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I remember when you only heard gospel music in the church. Did I miss something? When did the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ become for sale…? SALVATION is free!
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Love it. From the. Time. My godfather. Play it
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What an inspiration of jazz, gospel and soul wrapped into 1..!! I love when Sax!! One of my favorite instruments.
j-nice..
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This is the Man , keep up your great work. Tbis is one of my Favorites
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I'm in love with Jesus! Be blessed all.
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Beautiful sound! One of my favorites.
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tia31588
KIRK WHALUM IS TRULY ONE OF THE BEST .........
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wmg1244
Simply the best
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Just played at the Selby Jazz Festival in St. Paul MN. He turned it out for us and we turned it out for him. Beautiful music, beautiful people, beautiful occasion. Thank you for gracing our city!
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He is awesome!
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dianedavis99
"Falling in love with Jesus is the Best Thing I ever Done" my Favorite. Spirituality Gifted, thank you for Sharing your Amazing Talent with the World of Music.
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Love the way .The "New Projects"of Tavis Smilely".... . . . T h e last life-times of Late Michale Jackson (ENTERTAINER ) & Late Rev. Dr. Martin L.King Jr. (DRUM MAJOR for PEACE....... . . . . . . . . . , . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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swint59
*/Z
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Whatever you do don't take your love from me. Great gospel worship song!
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'' MY HERO ''
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Think just for a few........& . . . , n a m e some of the things.That you LOVE.......G o o d service.When you turn comes.From the back to the next in line?
Your Family,or best friend(s)?
Safety & honest dealings in business &in your enviorment?. . . . . . . a l l these are complete.WHE N YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS!!!!!!! ! !
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grandmother1 9 5 6
Was thinking about Luther this,morning what a beautiful blessing
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beautiful. the singing and the horns are fantastic. Falling in love with Jesus is the best thing that any of us can do.
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Breathtaking . . . i t is always as refreshing as the first time I heard it.
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johnetta.ras b e r r y
Falling In Love With Jesus
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What a way to go, music for soul....
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fasrn1979
Soul rendering piece. Thank you for sharing.
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The song satisfing the wandering spirit!!!!!! ! !
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I fall in "LOVE"...... w i t h .....THE MASTERof MASTERS KING of KINGS LORD OF LORDS everytime.
GOODNESS IS SHOWN TOWARDS
FELLOW WOMAN,MAN,&C H I L D IS ORIGINALY DISPLAYED UN-FOREIGNED !
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I fall in "LOVE" with JESUS CHRISTof NAZERATH each time.
I am influenced by a spiritual person.
With more edification. Than i have to shate!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Love this rendition, all of his music, soul soothing.
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ITS NOT DIFFERCULT "TO DISLIKE.
IT IS SATISIFING TO LEARN TO LOVE....not only.
What you once thought. You wouldn't!
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Kirk Whalum and Memphis IS music and the best thing about living there. The Whalum's are a musical anointed family.
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Love this rendition. This station will play everyday; its soothing and cool at the sane time.
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