Kirk Whalum

*Kirk Whalum has released a two-disk CD with accompanying HD DVD of a live performance held at Reid Temple AME Church near Washington, DC titled “The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter II.” This is a collection of musical testimonies in a multitude of musical styles with an overlay of Whalum’s signature sax playing. This eight-time Grammy Award nominee is sure to receive honors for this project which provokes Spiritual images that I am sure are different for everyone who listens.

“We have to remember…what we are called to do,” said Kirk Whalum, a two-time Stellar Award and one-time Dove Award winner. “You put your art and heart on the line. That’s what we do as artists.”

Putting his art and heart on the line is just what was done that day when the Top Drawer/Rendezvous project was recorded. Kirk enlisted the assistance of the heavenly vocals of Lalah Hathaway (Stax Records); the smooth sultry vocals of Kirk’s brother Kevin Whalum; George Duke on piano; Doc Powell on guitar; the vocals of his uncle sax player/vocalist Hugh “Peanut” Whalum; Kevin Whalum, III on tenor sax; Kyle Whalum on electric bass; his nephew rapper Caleb Tha Bridges; T.D. and Serita Jakes with spoken-word duet, and vocalist/keyboardist John Stoddart.

Combine all those blessings with Kirk Whalum woven throughout and you have a masterpiece in motion offering Contemporary, R&B, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Pop, and African Spiritual Gospel melodies. For me, as I know it will be for you too, just having Kirk’s skills on the sax (and flute) is enough to want to buy the CD – he is the greatest horn player of our generation.

“God is pleased to participate in the creative process when we invite Him in,” Whalum points out about Gospel instrumentals. “Jazz music loves to create and God is the same. I always invite God in. God is open, God is a creative God. Just because He rested on the 7th day…He wasn’t finished, He didn’t retire!”

Just as God’s work is a “work in progress” so is Kirk Whalum who is currently attending Seminary School. This is his third “The Gospel According to Jazz” project. The first single off the “Chapter III” CD is one of my favorites on the project, “He’s Been Just That Good,” featuring Lalah Hathaway and written by husband and wife songwriting team Jonathan and Brandi Jackson.

My other favorites on the two-disk CD are “Fit to Battle” which had me visualizing myself in New Orleans marching to Glory, and low and behold when I read the history on the song I find Kirk wanted the listener to capture New Orleans; then there is the Celine Dion cover “Because you love me”  one of those masterpieces – love that piano support as well; the Luther Vandross cover “Make me a believer,” with words slightly changed by one of the featured vocalist Kevin Whalum, and Lalah Hathaway; the Charlie Chapman cover “Smile, Part I” features the vocals of Uncle Peanut, which almost brought tears to my eyes it was so sweet; the B.B. King cover “The Thrill Is Gone” which Kirk goes just crazy on and Lalah Hathaway does the same as the featured vocalist, and the Stylistics cover “You are everything” with features the spoken words of T.D. and Serita Jakes – an intimate look into their third party marriage with God.

For more on “The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter II” log onto or visit Kirk at or tweet him at

Television and film producer Datari Turner is set to air a new reality show on TV One, ‘The Real McCoy’


Datari Turner and LisaRaye


Television and film producer Datari Turner is set to air his newest reality show on TV One, “The Real McCoy,” on the day-to-day life of actress and former First Lady of Turks and Caicos, LisaRaye McCoy, as she focuses on her career and  her daughter Kai. The show airs Thursday April 8, 2010 at 9:00 p.m. EST.

“I have known LisaRaye for ten years now,” Datari recalled about the day the subject of a reality show came up. “I always looked at her as a big sister; we’ve worked together and stayed in touch. I met up with her and we had lunch (after her divorce) and she had a lot to say. I have been producing a couple of reality shows and said, ‘LisaRaye I think it’s time for you to do a show, re-establish yourself as an actress.’  She said she liked the idea and we did eight episodes.”

LisaRaye is best known for her role in UPN’s “All of Us” and as Diamond in the film The Player’s Club with Jamie Foxx. A Chicago native, LisaRaye is also half sister of rapper DeBrat.

At an early age LisaRaye moved to Los Angeles and immediately landed roles on “The Martin Show” and “In the House.” She appeared in a music video of rapper Tupac and was seen by rapper/actor Ice Cube who placed her in The Players Club, which he directed.

Aside from “The Real McCoy” Datari is also releasing his first film “Video Girl” this year about the rise and fall of a video vixen. The film stars Meagan Good, Ruby Dee, Haylie Duff and Paul Victor. Other reality shows produced by Turner include BET’s “The Ultimate Hustler” and “I Married a Baller” with Tennessee Titan running back Eddie George and his wife Taj (from SWV). Future projects include a reality show starring Toccarra Jones (“American’s Next Top Model” and “Celebrity Fit Club”) and another film, a comedy, “Dysfunctional friends and a funeral.”

“I have to fight every day,” Datari said about the business of producing and creative television and film projects. “I am not where I want to be by a long shot. I made a lot of mistakes as a young producer. I was a model…I told people I wanted to be a writer and producer and they were shocked.”

Well this former Ford Model has made the transition better than those who have degrees in film and production. His projects have been aired and soon-to-be released. Not only that, but he is also a regular speaker at USC’s Film School.

For more information on Datari Turner or his TV One reality show, ‘The Real McCoy,” log onto, or