Grammy Award Winner and 11-Time Nominee
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 is 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).
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. kirkwhalum.com
The Anthony Walker Review
Anthony began his piano training in his native St. Paul, Minnesota, at age five, making his public debut at age ten. His musical background in classical, gospel, jazz and rhythm & blues has established Anthony in high demand as a solo artist, session musician, teacher and producer. His smooth sophisticated style is comparable to jazz icons Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample, Bobby Lyle, and George Duke. His talent as a pianist has allowed Anthony to perform for audiences on five continents, sharing the stage with acts such as Stevie Wonder,Patti Austin, Raheem DeVaughn, Leela James, Kelly Price, Chaka Khan, The Yellow Jackets, jazz vocal group Take Six, gospel artists Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Maurette Brown Clark, Kim Burrell, Edwin Hawkins, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Vickie Winans, and T.D. Jakes and the Potter’s House Mass Choir. He also spent five months on Broadway and 18 months touring with The Winans in the gospel musical, Don’t Get God Started. Additionally as a solo artist, Anthony headlined at the prestigious Blues Alley in Washington D.C. and the legendary jazz venue The Blue Note in New York City. In his role as musical director for nine-time Grammy Award nominee Ledisi, Anthony performed at The White House (at the request of First Lady Michelle Obama) as well as the 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama and has made multiple television appearances including the NBC Today Show, the CBS Morning Show, Late Night with David Letterman Show, and The Queen Latifah Show. In 2000-2001, the Smithsonian Institution invited Anthony to be part of its 18-month-long exhibit of historic pianos, commemorating the 300-year anniversary of instrument’s invention. As part of this showcase, Anthony played pianos that had been favored instruments of artists as diverse as Liberace, Liszt, Duke Ellington, Beethoven and Mozart. walktones.com
The Men of New Hope
Walker This widely acclaimed 11-member male chorus recently released their first CD, Been So Good which was produced by Sounds of Blackness' Billy Steele and Larry Robinson.
A Brio Brass has delighted and entertained audiences throughout Minnesota's Twin Cities Metro area since 1999. Formed of over 50 adult musicians, Brio Brass is a non-traditional, rockin' brass band!
Members of the ensemble bring a wealth of experience and talent to their unique performances. The skillful selection of music, lively pacing, added surprises, combined with a relaxed atmosphere appeals to all types of audiences and age groups. There promises to be lots of humming, toe tapping and even dancing in the aisles.
Brio Brass performs their own unique arrangements written specifically for its members. Their large repertoire features a broad spectrum of musical styles. Audiences are entertained with fluid ballads, pop of all eras, show tunes, funky rock and LOTS of JAZZ! briobrass.com
Walker West Music Academy's Legends of Jazz
Walker West Music Academy, a Minnesota, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, was conceived from the life experiences of its founders, Reverend Carl Walker and Grant West, and born as the expression of their hope for the future. The Academy stands as a bridge in the community bonding the present with a rich blend of the founders’ pasts, and the community’s future. The school is known for its artistic excellence in all styles of music ranging from classical to its particular specialties of gospel and jazz. 2016 marks the 15th year that the school's talented staff and students have performed at the Selby Ave JazzFest. walkerwest.org
Selby Ave Brass Band
This group of locals features members (Tom Wells, Kory Badertscher amongst others) of Dick and Jane's Big Brass Band who were a JazzFest tradition since 2002. They'll kick off the Fest with a rousing New Orleans style procession throughout the grounds. They'll also perform a set later in the day.