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New Album From Saxophonist Kirk Whalum, “Epic Cool”

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Kirk Whalum ‘s new album “Epic Cool” with guitarists Andréa Lisa, Akil Thompson, and Doc Powell

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.”

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.

South African-born and New Zealand-raised artist and guitarist Andréa Lisa is a musical powerhouse driven by personal experiences and her deep-rooted inspirations. As a multifaceted talent, Andréa has collaborated with renowned artists like Jonathan Butler, Ralph Johnson (Earth Wind & Fire), and George Brown (Kool & the Gang). Her guitar work on Kool & the Gang’s latest album further solidifies her status as an exceptional musician.


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