$45 – $60

Kafé Kirk with special guest Bob James

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CROSSTOWN THEATER

Kemmons Wilson Family Stage

1350 Concourse Ave.

Memphis, TN 38104

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Join us for Kafé Kirk at Crosstown Theater, featuring Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum and special guest Bob James.

About this Event

Join Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum for Kafé Kirk, a monthly jazz series in Crosstown Theater featuring musical and spiritual collaborations with special guest artists. This month’s guest: Grammy-winning jazz keyboardist, arranger, and record producer Bob James.

Doors at 5 pm | performance at 6 pm

General admission tickets — $45

VIP tickets (includes a meet-and-greet and free CD) — $60

About Kirk Whalum:

Soulful, passionate, stirring … these are the words most often used to describe Kirk’s music. Forged from his Memphis gospel roots and his 1980s initiation into the thriving Houston nightclub scene, Kirk’s big, rich tenor sound is unmistakably his.The 80s were highlighted by Kirk’s stepping out of his blossoming sideman role and forming his own band. It was there that Kirk ultimately developed both his “voice” and songwriting in the crucible of the local club scene — especially at a rooftop club called Cody’s. It was also 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 No. 1 album. Kirk and Bob also received a Grammy nomination for their collaboration album, Joined at the Hip.

After moving to Los Angeles, Kirk became an in-demand session player for top artists like Barbara Streisand, Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross, Larry Carlton, Quincy Jones, and, most notably, Whitney Houston, amongst many others. It’s his sax heard on the mega-hit, “I Will Always Love You.” Kirk soon followed that career high point with his phenomenal hit album released on Warner Bros. Records, For You, perhaps the most successful of over 25 solo recordings to date. Others include his eclectic, and much-lauded, Gospel According to Jazz series, (Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4). In addition to his many solo projects, Kirk was also a member of the popular soul/jazz group, BWB, which features Kirk as the “W” of the group with Rick Braun (trumpet) and Norman Brown (guitar).

About Bob James:

The career of Bob James is long, varied and continues to evolve at every turn. From his first days in Marshall, Missouri, the music of Bob James has captivated audiences throughout the world.

Discovered by Quincy Jones at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 1963, James recorded his first solo album, Bold Conceptions, that year for Mercury Records. Fifty-eight albums and innumerable awards would follow through five decades. He honed his skills working with Creed Taylor, working on albums for artists like Hank Crawford, Grover Washington, Jr, among others. While with CTI, James found great popular success overseeing significant hits for Paul Simon, Neil Diamond, Maynard Ferguson, and Kenny Loggins.

In 1974, James finally recorded his own album, One, which launched a lifelong career of recording and performing live. After three more albums, James began his own label, Tappan Zee Records. This allowed James to spend more time in the studio, focusing on his own creative works. It was during this time that he recorded his own gold seller, Touchdown, which included his composition, “Angela,” the instrumental theme from the sitcom Taxi, and possibly James’ best-known work. Bob composed all the original music used in that television series for its entire run. One On One, the first in three collaborations with Earl Klugh, was awarded a Grammy in 1980 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, and has sold over a million copies. During this time, James set the standard for the smooth jazz sound in the late 1970s.

A personal and professional highlight was the collaboration with his daughter, Hilary, on their Flesh & Blood album, which toured 15 U.S. cities. James continued collaborating on separate projects with Earl Klugh (Cool) and Kirk Whalum (Joined At the Hip). Both albums were nominated for Grammys. His solo career continued throughout the 90s, culminating with Joy Ride in 1999, and another Grammy nomination.

While James is recognized as one of the progenitors of smooth jazz, his music has also had a profound effect on the history of hip hop, having been sampled often. Two of James’ songs – “Nautilus” from 1974’s One and “Take Me to the Mardi Gras” from 1975’s Two – are among the most sampled in hip hop history. According to whosampled.com, “Nautilus” and “Take Me to Mardi Gras” have been sampled in thirty-two and forty-three hip-hop recordings, respectively. The title track from his 1981 album Sign of the Times was sampled in De La Soul‘s “Keepin’ the Faith,” and Warren G‘s “Regulate.” His “Angela” was sampled in the track “Cab Fare” by Souls of Mischief. The track “El Verano” from the 1977 album “BJ4” is used as a sample in the song “Blown Away” by the Cocoa Brovaz and also in the Masta Ace Track “NY Confidential.” N.W.A‘s “Alwayz into Somethin'” uses a sample of “Storm King” from the album Three. “Can’t Wait” by Redman features a sample of “Caribbean Nights” from the album Touchdown. English Drum & Bass pioneer Adam F extensively sampled “Westchester Lady” on his 1995 breakthrough release Circles. Röyksopp sampled his version of “You’re as Right as Rain” for their instrumental track “Eple.” In addition, James is mentioned in a verse by André 3000 on “Black Ice” from Goodie Mob’s second album Still Standing.

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CROSSTOWN THEATER

Kemmons Wilson Family Stage

1350 Concourse Ave.

Memphis, TN 38104

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