Kirk Whalum
Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter 2

"He is the Great Musician. The beauty of His work in creation is only paralleled by the awesome beauty that He continues to do in the nuances and subtleties of this incredible music called Jazz"

Kirk Whalum

To the delight of many, Kirk Whalum is back with a follow-up on his acclaimed  CD Gospel According to Jazz project from 1999. As one of music's dominant saxophone players, Whalum consistently brings his deep Gospel roots to everything he touches.

Recorded live at the West Angeles Cathedral in Los Angeles, Whalum continues with his expert and loving lead sax interpretations of songs both familiar and fresh. Making the project extra special is the inclusion of several notable guest artists on both the vocal and the instrumental side. That includes his brother Kevin on vocals, and his son Kyle on bass.

The project unfolds with an innovative musical interpretation of "John 1:1". Whalum soars his saxophone to heaven's heights, accompanied by choir singing the inexplicable beauty of the profound scriptural text found in the opening verses of the Gospel of John.

Occasional brief remarks from Whalum to introduce some numbers bring both an intimacy and a personality to this recording, something that is further enhanced by the enthusiastic audience response throughout.

Whalum continues to unwrap layers of creativity with songs such as "So Far So Good" (with keyboard master George Duke on vibraphone) and the gently-soothing melody of "Thy Kingdom Come", featuring Jonathan Butler on acoustic guitar. Both feature songwriting collaboration from the veteran Tyrone Dickerson.

Intereview: Kirk Whalum
CD "One memorable moment, for me, was when Jonathan Butler sang "Falling In Love With Jesus" and looked back at both the drummer and percussionist and they were lifting their hands in praise, in spite of the cameraman staring them in the face...."

See full interview with Kirk Whalum.

A major highlight is "El Todopoderosa", a spicy Latin jam with Cuba's Luis Conte on percussion and Andrae Crouch and the Disciples alumnus TaTa Vega on vocals. Sung in Spanish, the song means "The All Powerful One", and you don't even need to know that —you pick up the very meaning from the song's vibe.

Kirk's brother Kevin Whalum picks up where he left off on Chapter I, delivering soulful vocals on two songs: "Ta Ta You Jesus" (the Gospel cover of the Johnny Watson song) and in a glorious duet with Kim Burrell on "The Moment I Prayed".

Jonathan Butler's enthusiastic and honest guest vocals on "Falling In Love With Jesus" carries over to the congregation. Likewise, the energy abounding in the vocal-instrumental interplay of "Wordless Praise" makes for memorable moments.

For beauty and for excellence, Gospel According to Jazz Chapter 2 holds the banner high.

Producer: Kirk Whalum, Tyrone Dickerson, Hal Sacks
album release date: October 29, 2002
Warner Brothers

— reviewed by Stan North

  All content in GospelFlava copyright 2002. No information to be reprinted or re-broadcast from this site without the expressed written consent of GospelFlava.com. All rights reserved.

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