Saxophonist Kirk Whalum to Release New Album “Epic Cool” on May 17th, 2024 | LISTEN! Announces New Tour Dates for 2024

Award Winning Saxophonist Kirk Whalum Announces
EPIC COOL
New Album Out May 17 via Mack Avenue Music Group/Artistry Music

First Single “Bah-De-Yah!” Available Today

Collection is Whalum’s First New Studio Work in Over Five Years

UPDATED May 1st, 2024: LISTEN to New Single “Pillow Talk” Below!

April 5, 2024: Today, award-winning Memphis-born jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum announces the release of his newest single “Bah-De-Yah!” taken from his upcoming album Epic Cool which releases May 17th via Mack Avenue Music Group/Artistry Music. For nearly four decades, the Grammy®-winning saxophonist has helped to define “cool,” whether blazing trails in contemporary jazz or infusing hits by Luther Vandross or Whitney Houston with an extra jolt of soul. His new album raises the bar once again, scaling up the hipness, vitality, soulfulness, and vibes to a monumental level. Pre-save the album here.

While perhaps best known for having performed one of the most listened-to sax solos ever – for Whiney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” – Whalum continues to push boundaries beyond genre and style. “I’m still on this path trying to do something important,” Whalum insists. “At 65, I still feel very young. I feel like I have a mandate to be the very best version of myself and to push down some more doors.”

That life encompasses more than 25 albums under Whalum’s own name, including a Grammy-nominated collaboration with pianist Bob James; his faith-and-soul melding Gospel According to Jazz series; and a trio of albums with the supergroup BWB, alongside guitarist Norman Brown and trumpeter Rick Braun. That’s in addition to his work alongside everyone from the late Joey DeFrancesco to such legends as Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, and Larry Carlton.

To achieve that goal Whalum partnered with Swiss-Nigerian producer/songwriter Greg Manning, whom he first encountered as a keyboardist with guitarist Jonathan Butler. “He’s European and yet he has an African soul,” Whalum says. “I wanted him to bring his classical training together with his understanding of traditional jazz for this project.”

“’Bah-De-Yah!’ represents what it feels like to LOVE LIFE! Co-writing this project with my brilliant Swiss soul brother Greg Manning, especially this song, felt like speed-gliding from my 19th year — studying in Paris — through my 29th year — first time performing in Switzerland — through my 34th year — moving to Paris with our four young kids — to my 37th year — playing alongside my boss, Whitney Houston, standing onstage with Nelson Mandela for the end of apartheid in S. Africa… ALL IN FOUR MINUTES! Joy, joy, a bit of gratitude, and an authentic croissant with S. African rooibos tea, and then just more joy… Can’t imagine what fun 66 will bring, but this record makes me more excited than ever!!”

The eleven tracks on the album span all the touchstones of the artist’s repertoire, kicking off with the funk of “Bah-De-Yah!,” the finger-snapping sultriness of “Pillow Talk,” and the soaring balladry of “Through the Storm” and “You & Sunday Morning.” “Crusaderation” pays tribute to one of Whalum’s key influences, the Jazz Crusaders – Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder. Their importance to Whalum is reflected in the very special line-up for the track – the rare convergence of the saxophonist’s musical family, including son Kyle on bass and nephews Kameron on trombone and Kenneth III on tenor. All three bring a solid foundation from the pop world – Kameron tours with Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak, Kenneth is a successful solo artist who has worked with Beyoncé and Kanye West, and Kyle plays in the house bands for The Voice and The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Whalum will bring his Epic Cool nationwide on his upcoming tour following the release.

Photo Credit: Evelyn Freja

Tracklisting
1. Bah-De-Yah! 4:18
2. Crusaderation 4:48
3. Pillow Talk 4:33
4. Epic Cool 4:50
5. Through the Storm 4:30
6. Kori feat. Doc Powell 4:27
7. Love & Healing feat. Andréa Lisa 4:07
8. MF feat. Marcus Finnie & The Kirk Whalum Band 4:02
9. Film Noir 4:32
10. Well Alright feat. Andrew Ford & Nick Mancini 4:25
11. You & Sunday Morning 4:26

Producer: Greg Manning, except “Crusaderation” produced by Kirk Whalum

Tour Dates- More to be Announced:
April 6-7 – Berks Jazz Festival – Reading, PA
April 12 – Berk Jazz Festival – Reading, PA
April 30 – May 14 – Dave Koz and Friends at Sea 2024 – Athens, Greece
June 2 – Kafé Kirk – Memphis, TN
June 8 – Thornton Winery – Temecula, CA
June 21-23 – Blues Alley Club – Washington, DC
June 26-27 – Blue Note – Tokyo, Japan
July 26-28 – The Jazz Kitchen – Indianapolis, IN
August 11 – Long Beach Jazz Festival – Long Beach, CA
August 16 – Norfolk Jazz Festival – Norfolk, VA
August 21 – Aretha Franklin Amphitheater – Detroit, MI
August 23 – Fresh Coast Jazz Festival – Milwaukee, WI
August 31 – Park Evans Amphitheater – Cleveland, OH
September 12-15 – Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley – Seattle, WA
September 27 – Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts – New Orleans, LA

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