“Kirk Whalum Plays Donnie Hathaway” on January 22 at Soul Food Dinner Theater in Oklahoma City

Kirk Whalum, smooth jazz saxophonist, music educator and songwriter, will perform on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2010, at the Petroleum Club in downtown Oklahoma City, OK.  A soul food buffet begins at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m.
“It is not everyday that one has an opportunity to have a scrumptious meal and see an 11-time Grammy nominee perform live at the most elegant restaurant in their city,” Anita Arnold, executive director of Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC), Inc. said in a news release.  Whalum is the opening act of BLAC Inc.’s 2011 season opener.

Whalum, born in Memphis, Tenn., grew up surrounded by music.  

“He was the son of a preacher man, Rev. Kenneth Whalum and wife, Helen,” Arnold said.  “Memphis was known as the R&B capital of the South during those days.”
In addition to singing in his father’s church choir, Whalum also learned to love music from his grandmother, Thelma Twigg Whalum, a piano teacher and two uncles, Wendell Whalum and Hugh “Peanuts” Whalum, who performed with jazz bands across the country.  
These influences proved lasting, as Kirk Whalum once told magazine “Ebony” in a 1994 profile: “The music I like to play and write encompasses the four elements I grew up with: Memphis R&B, gospel, rock and jazz.  The emphasis, though, is on melody, period.”  
In recent years, Whalum’s musical genius and experiences have led to him obtaining 11 Grammy nominations, becoming chief executive officer of Soulsville Foundation and other honors.  The Soulsville Foundation includes oversight responsibility for the STAX Museum of American Soul Music and the Soulsville Charter School of Memphis.
Cost is $70 for the dinner and show.  Tickets can be purchased at Capitol Square Station, Charlie’s Jazz Rhythm and Blues Store, Hopkins Haircare, KM66, and Learning Tree Toy Store or through BLAC Inc., all in Oklahoma City.  For more information, call (405) 524-3800.  The Oklahoma Arts Council and the Ad Astra Foundation are sponsors of this event.