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Kirk Whalum Brings Gospel According To Jazz: Christmas Concert to the Halton Theater in Charlotte, N


While there might be plenty going on in the city of Charlotte this upcoming weekend, A Gospel According To Jazz Christmas was another spectacular presentation that fun-lovers probably should’ve taken advantage of.

The mythological musician, Kirk Whalum brought sunshine with him in the foundation of music, so he could cure everybody who’s suffering from cabin fever and that ornery depressant called winter woes.

Showtime: 7:30pm at the Halton Theater [Central Piedmont Community College Campus] in Charlotte, NC.

Whalum said that he came up with the concept for A Gospel According To Jazz,  after being released from Columbia Records. His wife told him, plain and simply put, “What are you going to do today, that you couldn’t do yesterday when you were a recording artist with Columbia Records?”

Rendered speechless by her blunt and endearing truth, Whalum began to create.

“I received words of God in a sovereign mode, and I decided that if I were to do a series, it would be with George Duke, Jonathan Butler and Lalah Hathaway; and it would be called, Gospel According To Jazz.

So, now, we fast forward and it’s been so successful. We won a Grammy, and now we’re doing a Christmas tour that reflects that. It’s out here in the mainstream marketplace. [We’re] having a great Christmas party, having avant-garde stuff that we normally play.

Johnathon Butler is playing some of his hits, but also, the focus for us is that we get to celebrate the birth of Christ in mainstream. It’s not so much in a church [setting], but in theaters and clubs.”

A Gospel According To Jazz is a spiritual voyage, spiced with melodious Jazz, and Whalum is content with that. 

God creates out of nothing— God is always creating a new thing, so when people get stuck on the old thing, then they are not reading their bible because God is always doing a new thing. For us, we take this mainstream, secular or whatever you call it, very seriously. We feel like that’s what we’ve been called to do. We feel like we can represent Christ in forums and settings, where God is not always welcomed; but if you come correct, people will receive you.

You’re not hiding from people. You’re asking to share your faith in their setting, where you’re not going to be preached to, you’re not going to be hit over the head. It’s saying, ‘Check us out and see how in love we are with Jesus.’

Also, we still have a good time and there are no rules in that sense.”

Taking it back to church  just in case the saints didn’t catch it, Whalum just cleared the air and welcomed even the most holy of rollers, to listen to his smooth vibes.

As for those beautiful vibrations, Whalum brought in the best, so he could rock out on stage with that gusto and years of experience.

It just so happened that Charlotte, NC is one of the stops for the tour that we’ve been yammering about for the last five minutes.

“Anything that you do, that you’re going to be successful at, you’re not going to do it alone. You always need help. The collaboration aspect of music is like cooking. Garlic is nice, but it’s better when you mix it with something. That’s what it is for us, we’re always cooking for collaborations. 

On A Gospel According To Jazz Christmas , we’ve had Norman Bounds, we’ve had Lalah Hathaway, Gerald Albright.

This year I get to have my favorite artist, Jonathan Butler. 

I was sort of angling for him for a while and we finally got him— And, adding him to a stellar group of artist.

First of all, my brother Kevin Whalum is outstanding. For people that aren’t fans of his, they will be after the show.

For people like Al Jarreau, and Bobby McFerrin, that’s kinda where he’s coming from.

Then, people will hear, Sheléa. If you’ve heard Stevie Wonder lately, live, you’ve heard her because she’s toured with him and she’s the one that does all the duets with him.

She loves Jesus. She’s got an amazing gift. She just rips the roof off.

John Stoodart, he’s a sunger who’s written for everybody including Al Jarreau and Boney James, to Michael McDonald.”

If you hadn’t noticed, Whalum is somewhat a musical aristocratic who’s affiliated with other royal bad assery in music.

He said that his best recording sessions would have to be with Queen of Soul, Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You,’ as well as a magnificent song with Jonathan Butler called, “Falling in Love With Jesus.

Whalum also shed light on his experience as one of the dubbed “Saxophone Heroes,” when he performed during Bill Clinton’s first inauguration back in 1993.

Click here to watch “The Saxaphone Heroes. 

For context, at the time we were living in Paris. My wife and four kids, and at that particular moment, I was broke. 

It was one of those [God] moments that I spoke to the lord, and I said, “If I sleep on it, maybe things will change,” he laughed.

That night, I got this fax, the fax was from Tom Scott, who’s a very important saxophonist and band leader. Quincy Jones had positioned him to pull together ten saxophone players, to play for President Clinton. It was Kenny G, David Sandborn, and Gerald Albright, and me... I wasn’t sure if it was real.

Sure enough, a few weeks later, I was on a plane from Paris, to go and play at President Clinton’s inauguration.”

Whalum showed that God was all up in the mix, and that opportunity wasn’t the first neither was it the last, where he’s performed alongside other legendary musicians in the industry. 

Longevity is probably the best word to use when showcasing Whalums years as a saxophonist. He said that the reason he’s able to last, sustain and keep pushing is because he focused among other things.

“Find the spirit of God— you can do that. I don’t know how people do it without him. That’s the first thing, and the other thing is that you have to constantly reinvent yourself. 

I’m in the process of doing that. I’m working on a project called “Humanity.”

I’m doing collaborations with other artist from nine different countries.

It’s a special project.

I’ll turn sixty next year and I’m excited about it. I’m trying new things. I’m staying healthy. I’m excersizing. My wife is keeping me sane with all the crazy schedules, but that’s what we do— And A Gospel According To Jazz Christmas tour is brutal because it’s night- after-night. “

To keep from burning out while performing and touring, the diet is a must for Whalum.

When you’re a celebrity musician there isn’t a such thing as normal schedules, but Whalum said that each project is different and some might take longer than others.

Other times, you can be sitting in one spot. Like, my newest record that’s out, it’s a Gospel Jazz CD called, [Hashtag] #LoveCovers. It’s from “Love covers a multitude of sins [Corinthians],” and also, love covers, Gods love covers you period.

When we think of insurance, and who should be covered... Well, let’s just ask God, ‘Who should be covered?’

The answer is, ‘Everybody.’

This record just happened through collaborations and email. We finished within three weeks.

Some stuff takes longer.”

Whalum is a creative that’s on top of his game. There arent any shortages of projects in his aresenal. Touring is his norm... In fact, he’s set to start the next leg of his voyage as early as tomorrow in Winston Salem. Sunday he’ll be chugging to Minneapolis. Next Thursday, he’s going to be in Los Angeles, and the tour will end in Long Island, New York, on December 23rd.

Click here for show dates and times.

Whalum expressed that he’s grateful to play in Charlotte [Halton Theater] with a great deal of gratitude for the people that plan to listen.

He also said hit him on Facebook(@Kirkwalum) and Twitter (@Kirkwhalum), straight like that.


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