Kirk Whalum (b. July 11, 1958) is an American smooth jazz saxophonist and songwriter. He later toured as Whitney Houston's opening act for several years. Whalum has also recorded a series of well received solo albums and film soundtracks, with music ranging from pop to R&B to smooth jazz. Kirk?s musical accomplishments have brought him a total of seven Grammy nominations.
Kirk Whalum born July 11, 1958 in Memphis, Tennessee, was surrounded by music as he grew up in the R&B capital of the South. In addition singing in his father's church choir, Whalum also learned to love music from his grandmother, Thelma Twigg Whalum, a piano teacher, and two uncles, Wendell Whalum and Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum, who performed with jazz bands around the country. These influences proved lasting, as he told John H. Johnson's magazine "Ebony Man" in a 1994 profile, "The music I like to play and write encompasses the four elements I grew up with: Memphis R&B, gospel, rock, and jazz. The emphasis, though, is on melody, period."