Kirk Whalum Christmas at the Blue Note

The Blue Note presents “How Does Christmas Sound?” with Kirk Whalum on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 6:30 and 9 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3, at 3 and 6:30 p.m. Soulful, passionate, stirring: these are the words often used to describe Kirk’s music.  His Memphis, gospel roots and his 1980s initiation into the Houston nightclub scene forged Whalum’s big, rich, tenor sax sound.  In the ‘80s, he stepped out of his sideman role and formed his own band, where he developed his voice and songwriting.  Houston jazz pianist Bob James “discovered” him and brought him on tour, which led to five successful albums with Columbia Records, including Cache, Whalum’s first #1 album.  After moving to Los Angeles, Whalum became a session player for artists like Barbara Streisand, Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross, Larry Carlton, Quincy Jones and Whitney Houston. It is his sax heard on the mega-hit, “I Will Always Love You.” An ordained minister, Whalum has earned a master of arts degree in religion.  He is currently a music professor at Visible Music College in Memphis. Blue Note, 1030 Main St., Napa, www.bluenotejazz.com/napa

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December 02

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