101

Kirk Whalum: Romance Language

Larry Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Kirk Whalum: Romance Language Romance Language is very appropriate for Valentine's Day—the perfect background for a romantic evening. Tenor saxophonist Kirk Whalum has teamed up with his brother, vocalist Kevin Whalum, on this recreation of the classic John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Impulse!, 1963).

Moreover, throughout this daunting task, the brothers succeed in brushing a smooth jazz veneer on the great ballads celebrated in the historic original release. The Whalums' effort follows vocalist Kurt Elling's tribute album, Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman (Concord Music Group, 2009), recorded live at Lincoln Center.

While Elling branched off with new interpretations, Whalum favors Coltrane and Hartman's straightforward, no-frills approach, his ripe sax providing effective backing with important help from keyboardist John Stoddart, as well as arrangements replete with flutes, strings and brass. His brother's light tenor voice doesn't measure up to Hartman's great baritone, but whose would?

Supplementing John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman's six tracks with four additional selections, the ballads' steady rhythms, largely provided by drummer Marcus Finnie's rim shots, are much the same throughout.

Irving Berlin's "They Say It's Wonderful" establishes the CD's prevailing tone right away with a lush, mellow vocal enhanced by Whalum's feathery sax, and dreamy keyboards weaving in and out in support—sweet but not cloying. The saxophonist also shines in the long introductory solo to Wood/Mellin's "My One and Only Love."

Whalum's 83-year-old uncle, singer Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum, comes on strong on Brandy's R&B ballad, "Almost Doesn't Count," while the set's final three numbers feature Whalum's sax, with a wailing organ in the forefront.

Romance Language reflects the stature that the Hartman/Coltrane recording has held for almost 50 years. Doubtless, it will continue to be an inspiration to future generations.


Track Listing: They Say It's Wonderful; Dedicated To You; My One And Only Love; Lush Life; You Are Too Beautiful; Autumn Serenade; Almost Doesn't Count; I Wish I Wasn't; I Wanna Know; Spend My Life With You.

Personnel: Kirk Whalum: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Kevin Whalum: vocals (1-6); Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum: vocal (7); Marcus Finnie: drums; Braylon Lacy: bass; Kevin Turner: electric guitar; Michael "Nomad" Ripoll: acoustic guitar; Ralph Lofton: organ; John Stoddart: piano, keyboards, organ (10), backing vocals (9); Bashiri Johnson: percussion (1, 5, 7, 8, 10); Javier Solis: percussion (2, 3, 6, 9); George Tidwell: flugelhorn, trumpet.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Rendezvous


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Sanctuary" CD/LP/Track Review Sanctuary
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "Wheel of Time" CD/LP/Track Review Wheel of Time
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 6, 2016
Read "Pulsation" CD/LP/Track Review Pulsation
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "ReNew" CD/LP/Track Review ReNew
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Earth Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Earth Tones
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!