Minister of music: Kirk Whalum walloped the crowd with his jazzy, saxy style during A Work of Art

Posted: August 12, 2018 at 3:15 a.m.

Anyone who didn't know, or forgot, that Kirk Whalum is an ordained minister as well as a Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist and recording artist was reminded during his Aug. 4 performance at Little Rock's Wildwood Park for the Arts.

Whalum preached almost as much as he performed.

His concert appearance wrapped up A Work of Art, the annual weeklong fundraiser for Art Porter Music Education. The week began with the usual City Hall kickoff and River Market performance by Minors in Music, the organization's emerging musicians; and continued with concerts by Malvern native Martha Burks at Cajun's Wharf, "Sweet Lu" Olutosin at Khalil's and the Porter Players Jam Session at 109 & Co.

Guests mingled and enjoyed a cash bar before going into the performance. Pamela Smith, master of ceremonies for the week, gave opening remarks and introduced organization board chairman Sterling Ingram, who in turn introduced the 2018 Art Porter Music Education scholarship winner: vocalist Daniel Johnson II, a graduate of Watson Chapel High School, who received $3,000.

Preceding Whalum's appearance was a performance by Johnson, John Legend's "Ordinary People," and several numbers by G-Music. The band is made up of former members of Minors in Music: D'Shawn Lamkin (guitar), Terence Lankford (keyboard), Keith Bates (drums) Lexington Porter (violin) and Matthew Means (keytar), with vocalist Neff Lankford. Kendric Kelley, saxophone player and 2016 scholarship winner, also performed.

Backed by a three-piece band, Whalum delivered such melodious numbers as "Giant Steps" and "Do You Feel Me," as well as "This Is the Day" from his album The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter IV. He ended with "I Will Always Love You" from his #Lovecovers album after delivering a powerful mini-message involving the late Whitney Houston, with whom Whalum once toured and whose saxophone solo is featured in her hit rendition of the song.

Art Porter Music Education preserves the memories of the late Art Porter Sr. and the late Art Porter Jr. while providing unique musical and educational opportunities for students.

High Profile on 08/12/2018