"Mommas been crying and they gon keep crying. Black folk been dying and they gon keep dying. Police been firing and they gon keep firing." These are the first lines uttered by Big K.R.I.T. on "Might Not Be Ok", the newest single by Kenneth Whalum, this time stretching out as a vocalist as opposed to his usual work on the saxophone. This sets the tone for the rest of the song which expresses deep anger towards the ongoing plague that is police brutality and the killing of African-Americans by members of law enforcement. Deeply moving and unnerving, "Might Not Be Ok" is a sign of the times, a testament to current civil unrest and a hope that if we stand up and refuse to remain silent, things will change.
It's amazing how high Kenneth Whalum III can rise. He's a saxophonist constantly in demand, touring constantly. His latest gig is backing D'Angelo on his latest tour (hopefully, he's playing with D on that Fun Fun Fun Fest stop in Austin in November). Yes, KWIII is running all over the place but he's still making moves on his sophomore album, the long awaited Through Hell & High Water, which hopefully will release later this summer. In the meantime, Whalum just dropped the video to the album's first single, "Away" featuring Big K.R.I.T., directed by Squint and K Cutta. Check it out after the jump.
Last year, I was privileged enough to not only attend Kenneth Whalum’s first performance at DC’s legendary Bohemian Caverns, but to meet with him as well. Since then, Whalum has been a great mentor and friend to me, so when I found out he was coming back to Bohemian this year, obviously there was no other option but to be in there for both nights. To no surprise, Whalum delivered even harder than last year, with an even bigger response from the jazz community. For those who wish they could’ve been there, I was able to get a few moments of the performance as well as speak with Kenneth in between sets. And I definitely couldn’t go and not get some pictures. Hope you enjoy!