Perhaps best known as the saxophonist behind the iconic solo from Whitney Houston’s, I Will Always Love You, Kirk Whalum’s passionate playing has been moving audiences all over the world.
Shaped by his Memphis Gospel roots, he shaped his tone through work in the Houston nightclubs in the early 80’s. He initially became known as a sideman and session player with such artists as Barbra Streisand, Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross, Larry Carlton, Quincy Jones, and others. He formed his own band in the 1980’s and has won many awards, including a Grammy in 2011.
Inspired by his faith, Kirk became an ordained minister and earned a Masters of Art in Religion. He serves his community in many ways, including his daily podcast, BIYE (Bible In Your Ear).
In addition to his 25 solo recordings, he is also a part of the popular soul/jazz group, BWB: Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown.
We talked about:
- Kirk’s thoughts on notoriety
- How his faith plays a part in his career
- How to play soulfully
- The big lessons learned working for Whitney Houston that can help you as a side person
- His current set up, and why he changed it a year ago
- What Kirk recommends every saxophone player work on
You can follow Kirk here:
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Thank. You for so many years of great music that touched our souls. Or the vertical you spoke about in this blog. One in particular was years ago when Whitney performed for the guys & gals in the Navy and she was singing, All the Man I Need. I got the impression it was not about a man and woman but at that time she was singing to GOD being All the Man & you played your solo part that made me think you were playing for GOD too being all the Man you need! It was so magical so vertical as you say. I often play that video just for what I receive from it.
My favorite of yours is the tribute to the Great Donny Hathaway!!!
Thank you again from a ole Gurl fan from Texas!!!
Hey Kirk Just saw you at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival and can’t wait to see you in June in Detroit. Also saw you last year in Southfield Michigan at the “Jazz on the grass” concert.I have a signed CD by you at one of your early shows at “Chene Park” in Detroit. Fist saw you with Larry Carlton (Maybe your first time in Detroit). I heard the sax solo on Larry’s song and I hoped he would bring the sax player when he came to town and he did! I’ve been BLESSED and a fan every since. Thank you and stay BLESSED. Leonard Mailey http://www.AAJtravel.com