Saxophone Player

Kirk Whalum

Often when people think of the Grammy awards, they immediately imagine some big name pop artist or R&B recording artist. Yet, the Grammy awards are home to the overall celebration of all types of music, including the intricate world of jazz. When discussing the legends in jazz, you’d surely have to mention Grammy winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum.

He’s been recognized as one of the leading jazz renaissance men in our generation, and he strives to continue reaching the masses with his love for music, his love for God, his love for educating the next generation, and his love for the beauty of romance: inspired by being married to his wife for over thirty years.

Whalum’s elegant understanding of romance and dedication intertwined with immense passion can be seen on his latest solo record, Romance Language. In order to understand the meaning behind the title, it’s important to know that Whalum is actually fluent in English, French and Spanish. Whalum named the album Romance Language because, “French is the language of romance,” he says. The album seamlessly combines the vibe of elegant romance you’d imagine in Paris and infuses it with contemporary jazz that is both secular and non-secular.

The album is essentially an impressive modern day recreation of John Coltrane duets recorded in 1963. Working with John Stoddart, Whalum was able to produce and arrange tracks using live sound complimentary of Whalum’s touring band, which includes: Stoddart (piano, keyboards, organ), Marcus Finnie (drums), Braylon Lacy (bass) and Kevin Turner (electric guitar) along with robust accompaniment courtesy of Michael “Nomad” Ripoll (acoustic guitar), Ralph Lofton (organ), George Tidwell (flugelhorn, trumpet), and percussionists Bashiri Johnson and Javier Solis.