#LOVECOVERS! A beautifully illustrated and expressed musical message of healing truth from preeminent and peerless jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum arrives just in time for a world whose rhythm is more than a tad off-kilter. And at the heart of this homage to love, what else, the good news… the everlasting “Gospel” message of God’s covering and enduring love. Sync this with Kirk Whalum’s masterfully arranged and inspired saxophone reverie, a host of music’s most acclaimed instrumental talent (Paul Jackson, Jr., Chester Thompson, the late Ricky Lawson, John Stoddart, Kirk’s son Kyle, among others) and the contemporary Gospel stylings of Cedric and Victor Caldwell and you’ve got a stratospheric worship experience. And though Kirk’s matchless artistry is front and center on #LOVECOVERS, nuanced and stirring vocals abound with a stellar list of guests including Nia Allen, Ruby Camille, Donnie McClurkin, Wendy Moten, Kevin Whalum, plus Angie, BeBe, Carvin, and Debbie Winans.
The album, like so many things in the journey God reveals, seemed like a simple collaboration. Gospel producers/composers/arrangers and Kirk’s personal friends Cedric and Victor Caldwell (Donnie McClurkin, Smokie Norful, CeCe Winans) had produced some covers of epic gospel songs that had not been released, and needed some additional artistry to bring them fully to life and thought Kirk was the answer. Kirk had met the Caldwells decades before at church camp the same year he met his future wife Ruby. After listening and due consideration, Kirk opted in. Then as the team went back and forth adding additional songs and elements, and making fresh choices, the plan behind the plan began to emerge, and the knowledge that this album with this precise title was “meant to be”—a heavenly collaboration that was not just a convenience, but a calling. #LOVECOVERS comforting familiarity mixed with the unexpected beauty, power and sheer saxophone joy and jazz artistry of Whalum and his instrumental worshipers and friends lifts each song higher and creates a perfect resting place for prayer, contemplation, a little Gospel dance, soaking, emancipated worship, and empowered action in the wake of a God connection.
The covers on #LOVECOVERS span decades and even centuries with a collection of some of the most loved, heartfelt and impacting—not to mention the most ascendant in terms of sales and charts—Gospel songs of the last 50 years. This collection radiates adoration, deep relationship, and percolating joy with songs such as the spirited first single, Edwin Hawkins’ timeless “What is This,” featuring Donnie McClurkin. “You Brought the Sunshine” emanates a soulful funky grace with a retro Doobie Brothers/Chicago meets classic Winans vibe—which figures since the featured vocalists are Debbie and Angie Winans who also show up on “Speak To My Heart” with McClurkin as part of the musical tapestry on his 1996 hit.
At the core of this album is a profoundly embraced message that in relationships, social agendas, politics, and the church, love never fails… It covers. Kirk explains “What did hit me when we settled on the title #LOVECOVERS, was twofold. The album is ‘Covers’ of Gospel songs, and second, and more important, in scripture it says, ‘Love covers a multitude of sin.’ Love covers us. We’re in an era when we’re 4 talking about coverage: healthcare... media coverage. I’ve got my TV set on town halls. The point of it is coverage. When we mimic God, then we are covering people. They will be covered. When you look at our mother or father, the family exists so that we will be covered.
With Kirk, #LOVECOVERS isn’t an abstract concept. He has lived it out in
myriad ways, taking the GATJ workshops to schools to share his experience and knowledge with students. In 2008, Whalum released Promises Made, a benefit album for the Millennium Project dedicated to the relief of hunger, disease prevention, and economic development in Africa. He serves as a faculty member at Visible Music College where he continues to encourage and instruct students and has been involved in countless community-based programs to aid youth in Nashville, Memphis and Los Angeles. My hope says Kirk “is that #LOVECOVERS will not only inspire worship and ‘talks with God,’ but awaken people to His covering love and birth a fresh desire to cover one another with the same determined and selfless caring, that people would connect and identify with God and His kind of love…, love that covers.”
Learn more about the man and his music with the official Electronic Press Kit for LoveCovers
Kirk talks about the latest chapter in the award winning series "The Gospel According to Jazz"