Kenneth Whalum III – Beautiful Ending

Kenneth Whalum III has been making music his whole life. These days, however, the Memphis-bred saxophonist, singer and songwriter says he’s “in a new place, really focused on making the best, most honest music I can.” Whalum will release an EP, “Beautiful Ending,” as a prelude to a full-length LP, “No More Sad Songs,” set to come out in April 10, 2020. The projects follow Whalum’s 2017 effort “Broken Land” and charts a new phase for him as a solo artist.

Over the years, Whalum has worked as a sideman and session player for a bevy of big-name acts — from Maxwell to Beyoncé to Kanye West, among others. The nephew of noted Memphis sax player Kirk Whalum and older brother of Bruno Mars trombonist Kameron Whalum, Whalum grew up in a hothouse musical atmosphere.  After moving from Memphis to New York to study at the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, he began playing professionally and got his big break working with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. Whalum soon found himself in demand among top talents, establishing long-term working relationships with R&B stars such as Maxwell and D’Angelo, and doing multiple studio sessions for rapper Jay-Z.

Since leaving Maxwell’s touring operation in 2018, Whalum has fully committed himself to his solo career. Although the life of a sideman to the stars — playing big shows and traveling the world — had its merits, Whalum felt he needed to move on from that part of his career to properly pursue his own music.  “Honestly, I can’t really concentrate on cultivating what it is I’m trying to do if I’m attached to anything like a big tour for two years or whatever,” he says. “I’m happy to work with people, but I can’t commit myself to another whole operation like I have in the past.”

Beautiful Ending is available on Spotify and Amazon Music.

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