One of the most gifted cats to ever play the sax, spends some quality time with Terrill & shares into the making of his Top Ten Contemporary Jazz release “Roundtrip” & his upcoming projects to come very soon!!
TERRILL: And in the house, hey guys Urban Music Scene – make some room on the couch. Right next door Kirk Whalum, what’s happening brother?
KIRK: What’s happening? What’s happening? And the Urban Music Scene! Man I’m glad to be in the number!
TERRILL: Hey you know it man! Were Badd Brother, Badd!
KIRK: What Muhammad say, “He’s a bad man.”
TERRILL: As they say in the jazz world, “That’s a bad cat.” How you doing?
KIRK: I’m doing great man. I’m blessed and really, really glad to be still doing this man and appreciate the love and respect man.
TERRILL: Hey man that’s always, all day always. God is blessing you man always it’s a definite blessing the world right now and in the jazz world and also in your career that span a great deal of time. You’re talking about three decades and 17 albums.
KIRK: How about that?
TERRILL: Have you looked back on that?
KIRK: Yes. It’s funny. That’s what this new CD is about. It’s about really taking a moment to smell the roses. And really savor. I’ll mention the fact that Grover Washington thought he would still be around. We certainly thought he would and not so much that – that was my motivation to do this. But it does factor in that nothing’s promised and I’ve been blessed to be able to do this now. Since 1984, in terms of an actual career. So it’s really great to take this opportunity, to take a ’round trip’ and take a trip back into the past and you know uh we do some of those things.
TERRILL: Right, right. And I tell you what, when you talk about going back in the past as compared to coming into the future. Is this what is I would consider the meaning of the title of your new CD Round Trip?
KIRK: Absolutely, it has affected a few different aspects of facets of that title. One, of course, is a trip to back where I first started out playing in the
TERRILL: Not to mention too, you brought in some players man. I mean, yo
u got Phillipe! That’s a badd keyboard player man!
KIRK: Yes. He’s a great keyboard player and even a greater arranger and producer. He’s someone I’ve known for a long time. I used to live in
TERRILL: And then you got Rich. That’s a cat who’s prevalent in the industry as well…
KIRK: Our record, “This is his time”.
TERRILL: Right, he’s doing it, man. He’s definitely out there, and it’s good to see that he is involved with your project. Tell us a little bit about the producer, James McMillan.
KIRK: James McMillan is a buddy of mine with whom I toured with in a band called “Everything But The Girl” and that’s a British band. Of course a lot of people knew their music. James and I were in the horn section with them some years ago. I recorded on one of their albums and ended up touring with them and met James. And we just hit it off right from the beginning. When I moved to
TERRILL: Not to mention, you got some frequent visitation rights to your family involved too on this project.
KIRK: Yeah …
TERRILL: You got your crew, you got your crew and everything.
KIRK: Yes. How about that! Here’s the funny thing: There’s more down the pike man. I mean, I haven’t even gotten into my nephews – one is a great singer and the other one is a bad trombone player. But I got one of my nephews on here – I got Kenneth III, he’s been touring with P-Diddy and he’s studying in
TERRILL: Definitely his contribution to your one of your projects is The Gospel Music According to Jazz.
KIRK: He’s not touring with me now. But I got him on this title track – as well as my brother Kevin, who of course is you know, is I hope to never go anywhere without him. And then my uncle ‘Peanuts’ man! We call him ‘Peanuts’ and he’s 79 years old man. He sounds like he’s 40, you know singing. He was the first real live saxophone player that I ever heard up close and personal and he was my benchmark for my whole career, to try to play like him. So I still have done it, so, so you know it’s great to have him on here.
TERRILL: This sounds like a great foundation and sounds like the album altogether has a lot of solid, solidity in terms of different types of covers. As stated, you have chosen. Getting contributions from your family, which is going to make this album a little more heartfelt I believe.
TERRILL: You finally got this released. I also found interesting that you brought back a very popular R&B vocalist, songtress. I mean she’s like a golden wing in the sky – Miss Shanice Wilson!
KIRK: That’s right man! I called Shanice literally cold and I was like, ‘man this lady probably don’t know who I am’. I just said called her anyway because I was such a big fan of “I Love Your Smile.”
TERRILL: Me too, man. That was a hot track!
KIRK: Seriously! You could hear on that song that Shanice has something very unique and very different. She wasn’t just a teeny bopper – you can tell that she happened to be a teeny bopper when she got her career started. But she had the longevity built in to the sound of her voice. And so, I was like man I haven’t heard from her so I’m going to see if I can get her. She said “Oh no I’m a fan; I would love to do it.”
TERRILL: Oh man, she’s such a radiant lady man.
KIRK: And the song is beautiful! It’s called “Inside”. It’s written by my buddy James McMillan in
TERRILL: Oh wow. You know what, I’ll tell you what – when the listeners get a good taste of that track, I’m telling you it’s going to wet their palettes. It’s definitely a hot track as well. And altogether, Kirk this project is hot!
KIRK: Man, I really appreciate it. You know how it is. You put it out there and just kind of hold your breath, you know.
TERRILL: Yes. There’s so many different types of music and how it gets classified is a different ball game too. But yours is something that just really goes over both genres. It could go in the Smooth Jazz, Jazz, Contemporary Jazz. But it can touch R&B as well. And hopefully the listeners out there and the fans will appreciate this one, because it’s definitely a very strong project.
KIRK: Thank you so much.
TERRILL: And definitely I am looking forward to the success of that and that’s just you anyway Kirk, you are a staple of success.
KIRK: Well brother, I really appreciate that. I grew up on rhythm and blues man – I’m from
TERRILL: Wow, it’s just amazing, a lot of your projects touched on the Rhythm & Blues. It’s just again, you’re a wholesome jazz artist, as I would say. Cuz you have the skills; I could go on and just be on this interview with you for hours. If I was to talk about these guys need to know your collaboration work with Bob James. Just in a few sentences man, how was it like to play with Bob James?
KIRK: Oh wow. See first of all Bob James discovered me. I was literally playing the
TERRILL: Absolutely. Are you still with me?
KIRK: Oh yeah, I’m here!
TERRILL: Ok, I thought you took a call there. It’s a beautiful thing you know you left over three decades, your involvement over the careers of so many players. Again that’s showcasing the new project of you coming full circle. You just made a statement, that’s a very profound one – it’s so much on the lines of you stating God has you doing so many things and let’s talk about that band The Gospel According to Jazz series. There’s a buzz out there you working on part three.
KIRK: That’s right. Chapters 1 and 2 were overwhelming successes and that of course ijs due to God’s hand on it and the fact that people are hungry for something like that, something that represents you know just that connection in a way that doesn’t beat them over the head. But just presents the truth in a way that people can receive it. So Chaper 3 is The Gospel According to Jazz – Chapter 3 is in the works. George Duke has already signed on, my brother Kenneth. I got some great participation on this one from a lot of Whalums, you know that haven’t been heard from yet. And as well man, I just it’s something that is really really dear to me and we’re going to do it in D.C. – the church called Reed Temple and that’s going to be on the 13th of August, I’m sorry the 13th of October and that will be a live video recording and CD. So it’s definitely something that people that many write to us from
TERRILL: Oh wow, wow, okay. That’s going to be on the line brother. We’re looking forward to that. And why don’t you tell us a little bit about the special Sunday morning Gospel Hour that you’re doing and you’re sitting in with Marcus Miller.
KIRK: How about that.
TERRILL: That’s sweet man.
KIRK: Yes. What it is actually is the cruise that we just did. We did the North Sea Jazz Cruise and Marcus Miller was the host and he did an incredible job. And of course there was Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner and David Sanborn and on and on. It was amazing. But the hit of the whole thing as far as I’m concerned, was the Sunday morning Gospel Jazz show. It was really special. You know Marcus’ dad came up and played “Amazing Grace” on the piano. You know it was really amazing. And people really – um people are hungry to hear the truth. You know they’re hungry to be impacted by someone who you know promises to never forsake them. You know we’re in an age where people are just wishy-washy and I think that’s one that really got people.
TERRILL: That’s one thing about your music Kirk, your music is like I say before and I will reiterate in the interview. It is concrete, there is a foundation in every project that you have put out. Over the course of the years, excluding the Round Trip album that came out, is coming out that is. What was one of your most memorable favorite projects you put together? Excluding Round Trip.
KIRK: I think probably Into My Soul, that’s the CD we did in
TERRILL: Good, good. You know Round Trip was bad and in the Urban Music Scene, you guys out there looking at this interview trust me – watch the review, it’s hot, it’s going to be burning up your airwaves. But before I close with you Kirk. You going to be on tour?
KIRK: We are touring right now man. I’m with Gerald Albright, Jeff Golub and Tim Bowman. Guitars and Saxes touring and we’re having a ball. Today we play the Long Beach Jazz Festival a little bit later and you know we’re r
olling on from here. So definitely check out kirkwhalum.com for sure for October 13th come check us out. The Gospel According to Jazz Chapter 3 and yes, we’re rolling! I can’t keep up that well!
TERRILL: God will give you the power to do so. And brother I’ve been privileged to have an interview with you today. Do I look forward to having a part two with you down the line?
Kirk: I hope so man, sometime very soon bro.
Terrill: Let’s plan one for that next project.
Kirk: You got it!
Terrill: Alright man, God bless you man. Thank you for coming to Urban Music Scene.com
Kirk: I’ll be back man.
Terrill: You got it, I’ll see you later.