Saxophonist Kirk Whalum Pays Tribute To Donny Hathaway on New CD
Saxophonist Kirk Whalum Pays Tribute To Donny Hathaway on New CD

It's been more than 30 years since the untimely passing of soul sensation Donny Hathaway.  But Hathaway's legacy lives on with a new tribute album by tenor saxophonist Kirk Whalum.



Donny Hathaway, who gained fame in the 1970s as a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer, left behind some of soul music's most-compelling tunes, including his 1973 hit, "Love, Love, Love."  The "smooth" jazz rendition from Kirk Whalum's album, Everything Is Everything: The Music Of Donny Hathaway, features guest trumpeter Rick Braun.

Whalum became a Donny Hathaway fan, and a fan of all types of music, in his native Memphis, Tennessee.  He says, "The music I like to play and write encompasses the four elements I grew up with: Memphis R&B, gospel, rock and jazz."

Kirk made his mark on the jazz scene in Houston, Texas.  Since 1985, he's balanced a soaring solo career with his work as a leading session player, performing alongside Whitney Houston on The Bodyguard soundtrack, and sharing the stage with Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, Babyface and many more.

It was Hathaway's signature blend of R&B, pop and funk, his innovative arranging style, and charismatic stage presence that inspired Whalum to record a tribute.  "I think there are certainly some common denominators with me and Donny Hathaway," he says.

Among the special guests on the album is Donny Hathaway's daughter, seasoned R&B singer Lalah Hathaway, who performs on the track "You Had To Know."  Lalah was only 10 years-old when her father died of an apparent suicide in 1979.

Whalum is also joined by renowned jazz bassist Christian McBride, guitarist Jeff Golub, vocalist Musiq Soulchild, and an 18-piece horn and string orchestra.