Unconditional

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Kirk Whalum gets an earthy tone from his tenor saxophone that enfolds a tune in joy. Bringing soul, grit, and sass to instrumental pop through his inspired horn work, Whalum makes Unconditional a jumping affair, even when the mood gets slow and romantic as on the ballads "God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You," and "Real Love" which features singer Wendy Moten. Other well-considered collaborators include Shai who adds atmospheric vocals to his "Can't Stop the Rain," and session great Greg Phillinganes whose keyboards round out a few choice tracks. The tenorist pays tribute to Grover Washington Jr., one of the pioneers of the music, with a funky original ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Kirk Whalum gets an earthy tone from his tenor saxophone that enfolds a tune in joy. Bringing soul, grit, and sass to instrumental pop through his inspired horn work, Whalum makes Unconditional a jumping affair, even when the mood gets slow and romantic as on the ballads "God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You," and "Real Love" which features singer Wendy Moten. Other well-considered collaborators include Shai who adds atmospheric vocals to his "Can't Stop the Rain," and session great Greg Phillinganes whose keyboards round out a few choice tracks. The tenorist pays tribute to Grover Washington Jr., one of the pioneers of the music, with a funky original "Groverworked & Underpaid." And when Whalum lets loose his spirited saxophone, you can hear the lineage from Grover, and other earlier instrumental pop masters, come alive in his playing. The ability to sing through your horn is the mark of a true instrumental artist, and Whalum has reached that lofty category.
All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
No doubt the title of Unconditional applies to the love of God that pervades his music and life, but like most of Whalum's efforts, this collection can be enjoyed by a wide audience. The centerpiece title song isn't blatantly gospel, but Whalum's textured multiple tenor lines rise powerfully towards the heavens like a soaring choir after making their main melodic hook statements. At one point, Whalum improvises crisply over Greg Phillinganes' simmering Rhodes as Luis Conte's percussion dances around him. "Now Till Forever" begins with a more meditative, smoky approach before Whalum, backed by John Stoddart's soulful wordless vocals, puts a little more oomph in the chorus. On "Playing With Fire," Whalum's soaring lines are answered and expounded upon by the balmy acoustic guitar breezes of Peter White; late in the tune, Whalum textures his sax to sound like a horn section, weaving that around White's sly lines. Gregg Karukas' moody keyboards and some colorful handclap effects help Whalum find some church in 'N Sync's "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You"; Tim Heintz's shimmering organ harmonies have the same gospel effect on a percussive cover of Macy Gray's "I Try," whose hook is also played as a one-man horn section. Whalum stretches out the slammin' funk and heartfelt meditations to over seven minutes on the cleverly titled "Groverworked and Underpaid," bouncing gleefully over Phillinganes' throbbing Rhodes and Paul Jackson Jr.'s plucky electric guitar, before improvising liberally. This kind of track represents a true risk for a smooth jazz album, but it seems Whalum was more concerned with portraying his feelings about the recently departed Grover Washington, Jr. and his inspiration honestly.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/17/2000
  • Label: Warner Bros Uk
  • UPC: 093624788720
  • Catalog Number: 247887

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Kirk Whalum Primary Artist
Wendy Moten Track Performer
Technical Credits
Evan Rogers Composer
Sue Ann Carwell Composer
Carl Sturken Composer
Roberto Vally Composer
Kirk Whalum Composer
Jeremy Ruzumna Composer
Macy Gray Composer
David Wilder Composer
Jinsoo Lim Composer
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    ''What was that?'', DJ s say ''Kurt!''

    He's back! While at a local Houston watering hole off South Main, I heard something that blew me away, apparently felt by others who were either standing or dancing: that hypnotic yet almost whiplashlike quality found by a pfunky horn riff backed by a tight rhythm section, 'nuff said.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Peace through instrumental jazz...

    When I came here from Southern Africa ten years ago & left behind the Afro-Cuban jazz movement which was just starting to take hold there, CD 101.9 was the first station I became ''addicted'' to in the NYC area. It was the only one at the time that played a nice blend of the R&B that I'd grown up with, and the ''watered-down'' muzak-style of jazz that I needed at the time to make sense of the culture shock I was undergoing. It doesn't surprise me in the least that I now return to that station time and time again to soothe my heavy heart/mind/body/soul. Kirk Whalum really has outdone himself this time and has shown me that sometimes instrumental music IS more powerful than vocal, and so as I write this, I make a vow to not sing jazz ever again - at least not until I master how to say what I need to say through musical notes alone. May my silence allow the world to see that pain can be shared in more ways than one - that grief can be expressed in Eastern/Western/Southern and Northern ways all at once...through the universal language of music that IS the universal language of goodness/hope and love. May peace prevail in our nation and the world at large.

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