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Kirk Whalum

One of the most exciting memories of my whole career is standing onstage with Whitney Houston in Johannesburg, South Africa, before a combined live/video audience of over 12 million people, playing the very song I honked out on my horn the first day I brought it home from jr. high, “Amazing Grace.” I’ll never forget it. God has a way of proving His power in some pretty impressive ways! -KW

Johannesburg is a long way from Kirk’s hometown of Memphis, TN. Having grown up a “pastor’s kid,” it’s not surprising to learn that Kirk’s warm, melodic sound was birthed in the Baptist church. Born into a musical family, Kirk first expressed his interest in music on the drums, switching to saxophone in Jr. High School when he was “impressed” with the shininess of the sax. Kirk began playing local functions and clubs while still in high school. A music scholarship brought him to Texas Southern University in Houston, beginning his road to musical maturity. “I became enthralled by the “Texas Tenor” sound and was able to spend many years gleaning from Arnett Cobb…one of the fathers of that “big” Texas sound.”

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