Kirk Whalum & Keiko Matsui

Kirk Whalum and Keiko Matsui

FRI • OCT 1 • 8PM

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Tickets: $99, $89, $69 | Limit 8 tickets per billing address

DOORS 7PM • SHOWTIME 8PM

Kirk Whalum – Soulful, passionate, stirring…these are the words most often used to describe Kirk’s music. Forged from his Memphis, (TN) gospel roots and his 1980‘s initiation into the thriving Houston, TX nightclub scene, Kirk’s big, rich tenor sound is unmistakably his. The 80’s 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 #1 album. As well, Kirk and Bob 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).

An ordained minister, Kirk has earned a Masters of Art in Religion. It’s in this spirit that he serves his community in various ways when his touring schedule allows. There is also his daily fifteen minute podcast, Bible In Your Ear (BIYE), in which he invites you to listen along as he reads through the Bible in a year. In addition to music and ministry, Kirk 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, an NAACP Image Award nomination and has won two Stellar Awards-Gospel music’s highest honor. A twelve time Grammy nominee, Kirk won his first Grammy award (2011)for Best Gospel Song (“It’s What I Do”––featuring Lalah Hathaway) alongside life-long friend and gifted songwriter, Jerry Peters.

In a career spanning decades, Kirk has a sound that is uniquely his; it is a sound that leaves an indelible imprint on the listener.

 

Keiko Matsui – Acclaimed pianist, composer and humanitarian Keiko Matsui’s transcendent and haunting melodies have long sought to build bridges. Her sonic cultural exchange has reached the hearts and minds of fans throughout the world and has allowed the pianist to work alongside icons Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Hugh Masekela and Bob James. “I would like my music to be a conduit for peace, kindness, love and light,” shares the petite, softspoken, yet commanding pianist. She adds, “My recording Echo is my attempt to capture all of these elements into the vibration of sound.” On February 22, 2019 Keiko Matsui will release her 28th recording as leader, Echo, which she co-produced with Grammy nominated producer Bud Harner. A master storyteller, Matsui crafts exquisite compositions replete with lush harmonies and global rhythms to create timeless musical anthems. Like iconic musicians Miles Davis and Shirley Horn, Keiko is also a master at utilizing space in her music to create a backdrop of drama, tension and sheer beauty. Keiko’s most inspired work yet, Echo features numerous special guests including bassist Marcus Miller, saxophonist Kirk Whalum, vocalist Gretchen Parlato, guitarist Robben Ford and bassist (and son of Clint Eastwood) Kyle Eastwood. The all-star line up also showcases premiere recording musicians drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist, Jimmy Johnson and guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr. and percussionist Luis Conte, as well as Keiko’s top notch touring band, Jimmy Branly, JP Mourão and Rico Belled.

“While composing the songs on Echo, I had a feeling of gratitude and a sense that there were infinite possibilities,” reflects Keiko Matsui. “This music is close to my heart because it is a celebration of the joy of the imagination, the strength of courage and the endurance of faith. It is about romance and a reminder to honor all living things.” There is a grace and spirituality about Keiko that permeates her music and very essence. Listening to Echo, you feel as if you are transported on a journey as the music unfolds like ten sweeping movements in a rapturous suite. The prolific Matsui composed 100 motifs for the recording that eventually were narrowed down to the songs featured on the CD.

Echo ceremoniously opens with a trippy drum and bass that catapults into Matsui’s reggae-tinged “Unshakeable.” Backed by nonet, with a blazing horn section, Keiko’s punctuated dancing lines add fuel to this exhilarating number. The intriguing “Moon Over Gotham” shines light on Keiko’s unrivaled ability to create delightfully memorable melodies. This swinger features a flugelhorn solo from Wayne Burgeron. Bass extraordinaire Marcus Miller shares the spotlight with Keiko on the CD’s title track. Miller was featured on Keiko’s 2013 recording Soul Quest on her anthem for global warming “Antarctica.” Keiko admits to being a long time Marcus Miller fan.

Presented by Count Basie Center for the Arts


The Vogel, a two-level, balconied performance space, located on the Basie campus at 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank.

At this moment, masks are optional.

The State of New Jersey recommends that unvaccinated patrons remain masked while indoors.

This Count Basie Center event is being sold to full legal capacity, subject to local, state and/ or federal restrictions in place at the time of the event. If any show needs to be rescheduled and you cannot make the new date, you can request an account credit or refund.

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