Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum serenaded the crowd (Feb 16.) gathered at the Stax Museum to hear songs from his Valentine’s Day release “Romance Language.”
by Sonya Young
Special to the Tri-State Defender
Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum serenaded the crowd (Feb 16.) gathered at the Stax Museum to hear songs from his Valentine’s Day release “Romance Language.” Whalum told the New Tri-State Defender that the release was inspired by John Coltrane, who Whalum described as the “best saxophonist ever.”
“Romance Language” features Whalum’s “favorite singer in the whole world,” his younger brother Kevin, who admits that it’s always fun to work with his brother, who he’s been performing with nearly 20 years. The singer told TSD that he is often compared to vocalists Will Downing, Al Jarreau, and (the one he’s most excited about) Bill Withers.
Kirk Whalum told the TSD that he was initially apprehensive when their father flew him to Chicago for Kevin’s debut. After hearing his brother’s performance, Whalum called him “an almagamation of all the Whalums I’d heard and all of the singers that influenced (Kevin).”
David Porter, songwriter and former Stax Records producer, told the TSD that “Romance Language” is “just another example of the masterpieces that are within him (Whalum).” Porter said of Whalum: “There are super musicians, and there are industry-defining musicians. That’s Kirk Whalum. He defines what true great, creativity in music is with his energy and his spirit about the music he does. It’s profound.”
Whalum said the secret to his 32-year marriage to wife, Ruby, is “forgiveness.”