Kafé Kirk with special guest Michael Lington
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: Michael Lington. Doors at 5 pm | performance at 6 pm General admission tickets — $45VIP 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 Michael Lington:Growing up in Copenhagen, Michael Lington remembers the precise moment he decided he needed to move to America if he was going to seriously pursue a career in music. He was still a budding musician at the time, who loved several different genres: jazz, pop, R&B, and more — as a young boy he’d even met the American swing legend Benny Goodman. But it wasn’t until he was on the verge of turning 20 that Lington—now recognized as one of the most creative and successful contemporary soul and jazz saxophonists in the world—made his fateful decision. Immersing himself in his favorite music — David Sanborn, Michael Brecker, King Curtis, Hank Crawford, Cannonball Adderley, and Grover Washington — Michael started out on clarinet but soon found his true calling, the saxophone. Already established in his homeland, he made the move to the U.S. and began to grab a foothold in the music industry there. Eventually, after much hard work, his place within the American and international music scene came to him naturally. Michael Lington is releasing Silver Lining, his 10th solo album, the followup to 2016’s critically acclaimed Second Nature. Silver Lining features mostly original compositions by Lington and producer/co-arranger/keyboardist Barry Eastmond, as well as a pair of stunning, choice covers. Silver Lining begins with “City Life,” one of three consecutives Eastmond/Lington compositions at the top of the track list. It features guitar from the legendary Dave Stewart of Eurythmics. Following the next two originals, “Break the Ice” and “Déjà Vu,” arrives the first interpretative piece on Silver Lining, Curtis Mayfield’s classic, timeless ballad “People Get Ready,” which the late R&B icon recorded with the Impressions in 1965. To sing the song, Lington recruited 2017 Grammy winner William Bell, himself a soul legend who recorded for Memphis’ Stax Records back in its heyday. Lington has learned much about business as his musical career progresses, eventually leading him and his business partner, Roy McClurg, to launch his own record label, Copenhagen Music, in 2014. Lington is also an entrepreneur outside of music, operating his own wine and cigar companies. He continues to tour, performing as many as 80 concerts per year, and has played in more than 40 countries, working many of the world’s most prestigious venues. He’s even performed for a U.S. President..
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