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The Best of Kirk Whalum

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Album Review

The Best of Kirk Whalum collects a bevy of tracks off smooth jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum's five Columbia albums. Despite the fact that it was these albums that made Whalum a star, they were inconsistent, and it is nice to have his most potent material organized onto one disc. Included are songs from the concert staple "Kyle's Smile" and the soulful "Glow" to mid-'90s material like "X-Factor" and "Peaceful Hideaway." Since most of Whalum's fans probably already have the albums these tracks are culled from, it seems a bit lacking that no previously unreleased material was included. Nonetheless, this is an essential compilation for any smooth jazz fan.


Born: 11 July 1958 in Memphis, TN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

From his early days in Memphis where he played in his father's church choir, veteran saxophonist Kirk Whalum drew inspiration from the rich musical traditions of that city, including gospel, R&B, blues, and eventually jazz. He received a scholarship to attend music school at Texas Southern University, where he formed a band in 1979 and began playing shows on the local club circuit. When he opened for Bob James in Houston in 1984, the pianist was impressed with Whalum's expressive style, and invited...
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The Best of Kirk Whalum, Kirk Whalum
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