Sunday, January 29


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When you experience Kirk Whalum’s music you are enchanted with an inspiration that can reach the depths of your soul.  The multi-Grammy nominated tenor saxophonist is a phenomenon in both worlds of jazz and gospel. 

Born in music city Memphis, Tennessee to one of the most powerful Baptist ministers there, the late Kenneth Whalum, Sr., Whalum played his first saxophone solo as a little boy from the pulpit of his home church. The song was “Amazing Grace” – a spiritual Whalum continues to play to his audiences today.  

So much has happened since the early years in Memphis.  Kirk went on to play his sax at local venues, making a name so big for himself he moved into the recording industry. He worked with A-line artists such as jazz great Bob James and R & B/ Pop sensation Whitney Houston.  Kirk Whalum

 The loving husband and proud father’s humble beginnings are portrayed throughout all his music, crediting him as one of the greatest saxophone players of all times. 

Fans are overwhelmed with Whalum’s latest release, “Everything is Everything, The Music of Donny Hathaway.”  The CD pays homage to the late vocalist, pianist, composer and arranger, who would have been 65 years old on October 1, 2010.

With music spanning from soulful R & B, gospel, and jazz, Whalum is the perfect fit for the tribute album on Rendezvous/Mack Avenue Records.

The recording takes you right home to Donny’s fascinating 70’s soul classics. The project is shared with some of the finest in the music industry.  Highlights include “You Had to Know,” featuring Donny’s daughter, Lalah Hathaway and  Musiq Soulchild  revs up a retro fit with “We’re Still Friends.”   Master of the pedal steel guitar Robert Randolf, and contemporary jazz masters Rick Braun, Jeff Golub and Christian McBride, are also special guest artists on the record that is “history in the making.”

Whalum is a very busy artist from on the road to the studio.  He recently released “The Gospel According the Jazz: Chapter  III,” (also on DVD).  The recording is receiving chart topping success debuting at #4 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart and #11 on the Billboard Gospel chart.  Lalah Hathaway is also featured on this project along with jazz giant George Duke. 

 “What’s different about The Gospel According to Jazz : Chapter III?  It’s evolving,” Whalum told  ” I walk out and start playing an African melody.  I blend  that into tunes similiar to spirituals our ancestors sang from the cotton fields. From there I move into playing Amazing Grace,”   said Whalum.

 “I am also represented by two generations of Whalums on the project – my uncle and nephew walk out and begin to play their saxophone.  The percussions and other instruments emerge and blend into something a little avant garde,” said Whalum. “The record tells a story.   It’s an art that we believe God is pleased with us to use for his purpose,” he said.   Kirk Whalum, Photo by: Raj Naik

With all Whalum’s musical wonders he is highly grateful to reach his fans in various ways.  Just recently he was named President & CEO of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.  And there is his ever-so popular 15 minute podcast “Bible-In-Your-Ear” (BIYE), a daily devotion encouraging others to change their lives for all the better by taking one day at a time. 

“I’m connecting with people who may be interested in the bible and those who may not have a desire to read the bible,” Whalum told “On BIYE I read the entire bible within a year.  If  you listen along daily you would have heard the whole bible. It’s an opportunity for me to present the word of God, and then the people can make their own decision, said Whalum. “God’s word is powerful.”


Kirk Whalum, "Everything Is Everything:  The Music of Donny Hathaway"

Track Listing:

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 Airne (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)

 “Everything is Everything, The Music of Donny Hathaway,” and “The Gospel According to Jazz: Chapter III” are available in the Music Store powered by

Also visit our Video Vault on the home page to see highlights from Kirk’s DVD, “The Gospel According to Jazz: Chapter III.”

 For a link to Whalum’s podcast “Bible In Your Ear,”  music and tour information  visit



About Author

Kim Betton is the founder and editorial director of The award winning television anchor/reporter and producer has worked in markets across the U.S. including NBC4 & USA Sky Radio in Washington, DC, WBKW-TV Buffalo, New York, FOX 13 News Memphis and KARK4 / FOX 16 News in Little Rock. Kim has a true love for good music! She is also a vocalist for smooth jazz and Broadway show tunes. Her love for music and the arts inspired her to launch this magazine. If you have a story idea email her at Thanks for checking us out! Enjoy!

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