There are lots of exciting changes going on at KTSU 90.9 FM, and the recent announcement that Grammy Award-winning jazz saxophonist and gospel artist Kirk Whalum is set to debut a new show on the iconic radio station has added to that excitement tremendously.
“The Kirk Whalum Show” will be a live, two-hour show that premieres on KTSU on November 23, and will air every Wednesday at 5 pm. The program will be filled with music, talk and inspiration. “The Kirk Whalum Show” is the newest addition to an improved and expanded KTSU lineup introduced by Ernest Walker, the station’s general manager, who joined KTSU in April 2015.
Whalum graduated from Texas Southern in 1982 with a degree in music, and has been making his mark on the music scene ever since. Forged from his gospel roots and his initiation into the thriving Houston nightclub scene, Whalum’s big, rich tenor sound is unlike no other. It was in Houston where jazz pianist Bob James discovered him and brought him on tour, which led to five successful albums with Columbia Records, including “Cache,” Kirk’s first #1 album. After receiving a Grammy nomination for a collaboration album with James, Whalum moved to Los Angeles, where he became an in demand session player for top artists like Barbara Streisand, Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross, Larry Carlton, Quincy Jones and many others. Whalum’s saxophone can most notably be heard on Whitney Houston’s mega-hit, “I Will Always Love You,” which helped him build on his growing success as a musical icon. An ordained minister, Whalum has earned a Masters of Art in Religion, and has a daily, 15-minute podcast called “Bible In Your Ear” (BIYE), in which he invites people to listen along as he reads through the Bible in a year. In addition to music and ministry, Whalum has a passion to educate young, aspiring musicians and is currently engaged as a music professor at Visible Music College in his hometown of Memphis.
Kirk is the recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements for his musical excellence, including three Dove Award nominations, a NAACP Image Award nomination and has won two Stellar Awards, which is Gospel music’s highest honor. A 12-time Grammy nominee, Whalum won his first Grammy award in 2011 in the Best Gospel Song category for the song “It’s What I Do,” featuring Lalah Hathaway, in collaboration with his life-long friend and gifted songwriter, Jerry Peters.
In addition to launching his new radio show on KTSU, Whalum will also be joined by fellow jazz artists, Keiko Matsui and Norman Brown, when he presents his annual “Gospel According to Jazz Christmas Concert” on December 2 at Texas Southern. The live performance will be available online at www.ktsufm.org or via the station’s broadcast app.
For more information about Gospel According to Jazz Christmas Concert, visit www.tsu.edu.