Kirk Whalum will have an important role at the Stax Music Academy in his hometown of Memphis, where he will be returning to as a full-time resident early next year.
The Stax Music Academy in Memphis, which opened three years ago, has picked saxophonist Kirk Whalum as its first artist in residence. Whalum, who grew up in Memphis but moved away at age 18, will begin his duties on Sept. 5. Whalum will be much closer to the museum soon, as he recently announced that he is moving back to his hometown early next year and that he and wife, Ruby, are looking for a place downtown.
Since leaving Memphis, Whalum has lived in Paris, Southern California and, for the past 10 years, in Nashville. Besides sharing his many musical experiences, Whalum will perform with academy students in public concerts as well as conduct public and private master classes. He�ll also record public service announcements for the Stax Music Academy and adjacent Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
It was in 2003 that Whalum recorded a CD in Memphis called Into My Soul, giving praise to Soulville's Stax Records and the sound of Memphis music. The one-time Memphis based record label was one of the most popular soul-music labels ever, second only to Motown. Whalum grew up listening to the Stax Recording artists such as Al Green, Otis Redding and John Lee Hooker, among others.