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Into My Soul

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Album Review

Featuring an organic mix of straightforward R&B, Into My Soul finds alto saxophonist Kirk Whalum on what is ostensibly his Memphis album. Whalum — a Memphis native — does evince a Stax-style soulfulness, but he keeps the arrangements and his own playing mild and light despite the album's more natural acoustic production style. The title track, a funky midtempo ballad that recalls the simple elegance of Grover Washington, Jr., is a standout. Similarly, the funky "Hoddamile (Hot or Mild)" gets by nicely with a catchy melody and guest spots by trumpeter Rick Braun and guitarist Norman Brown. And the raw and soulful "That's All Right" — featuring vocals by Kevin Whalum — turns the Arthur Crudup-penned Elvis classic into a raw Tony! Toni! Toné!-meets-Sam Cooke rave-up. The rest of Into My Soul is pleasant, but falls short of a Whalum smooth jazz masterpiece.


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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Into My Soul, Kirk Whalum
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