The Soulsville Foundation, which operates the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Stax Music Academy, has named Grammy-nominated jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum its president and CEO.
Whalum, a native of Memphis, Tenn., has served as the Stax Music Academy’s Artist in Residence since 2006. He grew up around the corner, and the Whalum family has resided there for almost a century.
“My family has been a vibrant part of this community for almost 100 years now, and love for Stax and the community is in my DNA,” Whalum said.
“It is with a tremendous awe, an expectant outlook, and just enough ‘fear’ to keep me grounded that I have chosen to take this new career path in my life.”
He added, “I have a sincere love for this musical legacy, for the heroes who forged it, and for letting the world know that we are dedicated to taking it into the future.
The 51-year-old musician, who replaces interim CEO Deanie Parker, says that his goal in the new position is “to ensure that as many people as possible come to know about the great work we do.”
Whalum, who just released a jazz-gospel fusion album ‘The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter III (GATJ3),’ will continue to tour and record, but his schedule will be adjusted so that he can focus on his work with the Soulsville Foundation.