THE QUEEN CITY JAZZFEST

JazzFest-Postcard-2017_Web

Buy The Queen City Jazz Fest tickets at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre in Charlotte, NC for June 17, 2017 6:00PM at Ticketmaster.

http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0E00528ABCFEFD18

Culbertson readying to take “Funk!” to the stage

BC Funk

Culbertson readying to take “Funk!” to the stage

“Been Around The World” to precede new album and extensive concert tour

Los Angeles, Calif. (25 May 2016): Message to funk received from the Mothership: hit-maker Brian Culbertson is in the studio conspiring with his cosmic group of musical soul brothers on his second funk collection, “Funk!,” which will be released September 16 on his BCM Entertainment label. Less than a week after his seventeenth album streets, the award-winning multi-instrumentalist will launch a coast-to-coast concert tour on a scale unlike any trek ever mounted by the vivacious showman who will be flanked by the same band showcased on the album. To help set the stage for the 11-song set plus three playful interlude sketches, all produced by Culbertson, radio stations will be serviced “Been Around The World” in early July.

Those who have caught a Culbertson show over the last year might have had a premonition that the R&B-jazzman was about to again morph into an emissary of funk, a mission that began with his 2008 recording “Bringing Back The Funk,” which he co-produced with the late Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire and featured legendary funksters Bootsy Collins and Larry Graham. His set list at recent gigs included a pair of funk classics, “Got To Give It Up” and “Play That Funky Music,” which made it onto the new album. The Chicago-bred musician who plays piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, clavinet, Hammond B3 organ, synths, trombone, bass, drums, percussion and sings on the entire record wrote or co-wrote nine new songs for “Funk!” that showcases his live band – Marqueal Jordan (vocals & sax), Tyrone Chase (guitars), Eddie Miller (keyboards, organ & vocals), Rodney Jones, Jr. (bass, guitar & vocals), Chris Miskel (drums) and Michael Stever (trumpeter & horn arrangements) – along with Chance Howard, a nasty R&B keyboardist, bassist and vocalist who has toured and recorded with fellow Minnesota native Prince. Noted trumpeter Patches Stewart will replace Stever for the Funk! Tour.

Next month, Howard will join Culbertson on stage to premiere a few choice cuts from “Funk!,” including the first single, at Culbertson’s fifth anniversary Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a wine and jazz lifestyle experience in the heart of California Wine Country taking place June 8-12.

“The concept for ‘Funk!’ was to make an old-school, throwback funkadelic record in the style of P-Funk meets Prince and to tour with the same band that appears on the album – my band plus Chance (Howard). We finished tracking and are mixing this week. The show we will be taking out on the road is unlike anything anyone has ever seen from me before. It’s on an entirely different level. Yes, we’re taking it there! I’m also very excited about capturing the magic by shooting a Blu-ray to be taped on tour this fall,” said Culbertson, who as an imaginative and trend-setting artist, producer and songwriter has architected 28 Billboard No. 1 singles along with a library of chart-topping albums.

Once again, Culbertson has opened the doors to the recording studio by posting a series of video blogs from the “Funk!” sessions on his website (http://www.brianculbertson.com/funk) as well as engaging his followers through Facebook Live. And like his most recent studio release, he’s offering fans the opportunity to get involved with the process by launching an Indiegogo campaign (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/brian-culbertson-s-funk–2#/) that provides a menu of unique options, including VIP concert tickets, tickets for the Blu-ray filming, autographed CD, limited edition vinyl album, a private personalized video message, sheet music and a bobble head Funk! doll

Tickets go on sale for the Funk! Tour for fan club members beginning June 1 and to the general public starting June 3. For more information, please visit www.BrianCulbertson.com.

The songs that comprise “Funk!” are:

“Get Ready”

“The Call”

“Been Around The World”

“Take It Up”

“Let’s Take A Ride”

“We Got What You Want”

“Sunshine” (interlude)

“Hey Girl”

“Damn, I’m Hungry” (interlude)

“Got To Give It Up”

“Mile Sauce”

“Play That Funky Music”

“Spend A Little Time”

“To Be Continued…” (interlude)

The Funk! Tour itinerary is listed below (additional dates will be added):

September 22-25             Seattle, WA                                        Jazz Alley (two shows Sept. 23 & 24)

September 26                   Portland, OR                                      The Aladdin

September 27                   Bend, OR                                             Tower Theater

October 5                            Fresno, CA                                          Tower Theater

October 6                            Santa Barbara, CA                            Lobero Theater

*October 7                         Newport Beach, CA                        Hyatt Newporter

*October 8                         Temecula, CA                                    Thornton Winery

October 9                            Scottsdale, AZ                                   Livewire

October 11-12                   Denver, CO                                         Soiled Dove (two shows per night)

October 13                          Salt Lake City, UT                              The State Room

October 14-15                   Las Vegas, NV                                    Aliante Casino

*October 16                       Catalina Island, CA                           Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival

October 20                          Indianapolis, IN                                 Murat Theater

October 21                          Cincinnati, OH                                    Ludlow Garage

October 23                          New Albany, OH                               Schottenstein Theatre

October 25                          Pittsburgh, PA                                   MCG Jazz (two shows)

October 26-27                   New York, NY                                    B.B. King’s

October 28                          Cranston, RI                                       Park Theatre

October 29                          New Haven, CT                                 John Lyman Center

October 30                          Boston, MA                                        Scullers Jazz Club (two shows)

November 4                       Collingswood, NJ                              Scottish Rite Auditorium

*November 5                    Mount Pocono, PA                          Mt. Airy Casino Resort

November 11                    Minneapolis, MN                             Dakota (two shows)

November 13                    Detroit, MI                                          Royal Oak Music Theatre

Nov. 28-Dec. 2                   London, England                              Pizza Express

*denotes tickets are already on sale

SUNSET JAZZ FESTIVAL

As we approach the end of the summer, we are also approaching the last few festivals for the year. I am going to get a couple more in before it all comes to end for 2015. August 15, 2015, Atlanta, GA was once again the host for the Sunset Jazz Festival at Chastain Park. As always, the line-up was incredible and left no stone unturned. Opening the five hour show with his energetic performance was saxophonist, Mike Phillips, joined by the very talented violinist, Karen Briggs. They’ve appeared together all over on various stages. Next up was The Robert Glasper Experiment. Robert had just flown in from London the night before, and he gave the type of performance he is known for: incredible. Alongside a cast of extremely talented musicians, The Robert Glasper Experiment wowed the crowd. Following was R&B singer, Eric Benet. His performance was grown and sexy–as expected. Eric never disappoints his fans with a collection of songs spanning his expansive career. Headlining the festival was none other than the entertaining, keep-you-on-your-feet Brian Culbertson. In true Culbertson style, Brian and his talented ban delivered a performance not to be forgotten. With an expansive catalog of music, Brian was able to give the crowd some of old and new music. The energy he and his band leave on the stage every time he performs is undeniable and created the perfect finale. Without knowledge of the line-up for 2016, I can assure old and new attendees they can safely make plans to attend. Furthermore, they will be happy that they did. I’ll see you there in 2016.

Here are some photos from the Sunset Jazz Festival:

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Sunset Jazz Festival

Mike Phillips

Mike Phillips

Karen Briggs

Karen Briggs

The Robert Glasper Experiment

The Robert Glasper Experiment

Eric Benet

Eric Benet

Eric before taking the stage

Eric before taking the stage

Rick and Ross of The Famous Rick & Russ Show

Rick and Ross of The Famous Rick & Russ Show

CECIL RAMIREZ SETS THE TONE WITH “PARTY IN THE BACK”

The sound of Cecil Ramirez’s new album, “Party In The Back,” is reminiscent of the 80’s. It is a throwback to an era in music that he loves and that is memorable to most people. Although the album was released a year later than Cecil anticipated, friends and fans patiently waited. Cecil Ramirez is just coming from his fourth year at the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway. He performs at the welcome dinner and sets the tone for the rest of the week. Napa is beautiful for multiple reasons and often times, special for a few. The latter is true for Ramirez and his wife. They had their first date there and got engaged there. Needless to say, Napa will always hold a special place in his heart. Embracing the beauty of wine country sparked an interest in learning about wine in Cecil. Wine and music are a perfect combination. “Party In The Back” is a fun, energetic, and funky background to many of summer’s festivities. It puts you in the mood to reflect and party. Cecil wrote seven of the ten songs on the album. He collaborated with Brian Culbertson, Michael Lington, Adam Hawley, Darren Rahn, and Phil Denny. He also covered a few songs that are sure to take you back: “Remember The Time” by Michael Jackson, “Stronger Than Before,” and “Georgy Porgy” by David Paich.

Cecil and I have a great time discussing the album:

Party In The Back

Party In The Back

QUEEN CITY JAZZ FEST 2015

Jazz-Eblast_Artist WBAV

This year marks the first annual Queen City Jazz Fest. Perfectly located at The Uptown Amphitheatre in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Come out and enjoy live performances by Will Downing, Brian Culbertson, Mike Phillips, and Karen Briggs. Great music and exhilarating show stopping performances will fill the evening air, while the beautiful Charlotte skyline serves as the perfect the backdrop.

Tickets can be purchased at the box office or via the following link:  http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0E004E86D0E16FE3

Click below to listen to Will Downing share his excitement about the QC Jazz Fest:

Jazz royalty “Open Up” “The Vault” to help departed friend’s family‏

Jeff Golub

Jazz royalty “Open Up” “The Vault” to help departed friend’s family

New single from the late guitarist Jeff Golub debuts in the Billboard Top 20

ahead of Tuesday’s album release with sales benefitting The Golub family.   

New York City (31 March 2015): A few days prior to New Year’s Day, the day guitarist Jeff Golub passed away at age 59, his frequent collaborators Steven Miller, Rick Braun and Bud Harner put the finishing touches on Golub’s 13th solo album, “The Vault,” a collection of previously unreleased songs and reimagined early career gems that were redecorated with the assistance of some of the artist’s high-profile musician friends. Everyone involved with creating the album that was released today by eOne Music – musicians, producers, songwriters, engineers, mixers, mastering, graphic artists, etc. – donated their time to the project so that all of the money generated by record sales can go to Golub’s family.

One of the new cuts, “Open Up,” featuring the soulful Golub boisterously shredding over a trademark jazzy blues-rock groove produced by Jeff Lorber, debuted last week in the Top 20 of Billboard’s smooth jazz singles chart boding to become the next addition to the artist’s catalogue of No. 1 singles.

“The Vault” is just the latest rallying of the music community to aid Golub, who succumbed to complications from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare, incurable and aggressive brain disease. Although he wasn’t officially diagnosed until last November, PSP stole his vision in the spring and summer of 2011. An all-star contingent played a sold-out benefit concert that autumn in Southern California to raise money to cover medical expenses. Golub’s motor skills rapidly began to deteriorate while touring in 2013 in support of his final set of all new material, “Train Keeps A Rolling,” and eventually left him unable to play his beloved instrument. After his passing, nearly two dozen prominent recording artists gathered January 21 near the guitarist’s New York City home to play a sold-out tribute benefit concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. Many of the musicians who appeared on that high-wattage bill perform on “The Vault,” including Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum, Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot, Bill Evans, Philippe Saisse, Steve Ferrone and Braun. Additional album contributors were hitmen Gerald Albright, Brian Culbertson, Euge Groove, Boney James and Peter White.

The ten-track “The Vault” consists of vastly different versions of seven Golub songs harvested from seminal album releases that were given a fresh twist by the guest artists personally selected by Golub; a soul-stirring live version of the Golub classic “Naked City”; and two previously unreleased selections, “Open Up” and the Saisse-produced “Swagster,” a sweltering swing sparked by Golub’s scalding guitar and Whalum’s impassioned sax wails.

To help set the stage for “The Vault,” SmoothJazz.com hosted the world premiere of the record on March 28 along with interviews with the guest artists and producers. Last Sunday’s (March 29) episode of Koz’s radio show that airs nationally on SiriusXM’s Watercolors was devoted to the album spotlighted by interview segments with Abair and Braun, and played multiple tunes from the disc. On April 15, SiriusXM’s Watercolors will broadcast the entire Golub all-star tribute concert.

Golub began his career as an ace guitar slinger alongside superstars Rod Stewart, Billy Squier, Peter Wolf and Tina Turner before launching his own chart-topping band, Avenue Blue, leading to his star-making solo career. The Akron, Ohio native is survived by his wife Audrey Stafford Golub, and sons Matthew (14) and Chris (12).

“The Vault” contains the following songs:

“Funky Is As Funky Does”

“One More Excuse To Play The Blues”

“Open Up”

“Gimmie Some”
“Swagster”

“Keep The Ball Rolling”

“Jeff’s Blues (Mama Didn’t)”

“Groanin”

“Atlanta Nights”

“Naked City” (Live)

For additional information about Golub, go to http://jeffgolub.com.

DW3 pays “Tribute” to their late drummer-mentor Ricky Lawson‏

DW3

DW3 pays “Tribute” to their late drummer-mentor Ricky Lawson

 

R&B vocal band goes retro on their sophomore album, “Vintage Truth,” due March 17, with assistance from contemporary jazz luminaries Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson,

Paul Brown, Greg Adams and Elan Trotman.

Los Angeles, California (12 February 2015): At the untimely passing of the drummer Steely Dan’s Walter Becker described as having perfect timing, Ricky Lawson was only four songs into producing the sophomore album by R&B vocal group DW3. Lawson, who had an extraordinary GRAMMY®-winning career collaborating with Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston and Steely Dan, had been a member of the band for more than two years and the tracks are his last recordings. Over a year later, DW3’s “Vintage Truth,” dedicated to Lawson, is finally finished and scheduled for release March 17 on the Woodward Avenue Records label.

Despite being rocked by the unexpected loss that occurred two days before Christmas 2013, DW3 knew that Lawson would want the groove to continue. He not only was a member of the outfit fronted by brothers Billy & Eric Mondragon and Damon Reel, but he mentored them as well. He believed that the GRAMMY®-nominated vocalists who are a perennial draw on the jazz festival and cruise circuit is at their dynamic best in live settings thus the record’s core tracks were laid down in the studio live. DW3 maintained that template when finishing the album, which they produced themselves with one cut, the collection’s first single – a seductively soulful take on The Eagles’ “I Can’t Tell You Why” – produced by hit-maker Paul Brown.

“We titled the album ‘Vintage Truth’ because of the way we approached the recording process, like a live jam session where the core musicians – the guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and drummer – were in the room playing at the same time. We rehearsed each song twice, then went in the studio and pressed record. Our previous recordings featured a lot of drum programming, but this project has all live drums,” said Eric Mondragon. “Another vintage element we added that we absolutely love is the live horns – so much so that we recently added a horn section to our lineup so that we could perform these songs properly onstage.”

The twelve-tracker “Vintage Truth” offers a blend of originals and fan favorites that the group has performed on stage for years such as Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed,” Luther Vandross’s “So Amazing” and The Mamas & The Papas’ “California Dreamin’,” the last of which won the California Lottery Powerball song contest for their trademark three-part harmonies spawning a popular video (http://bit.ly/1vDOe1D). Making instrumental contributions to the disc were contemporary jazz chart-toppers Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson, Greg Adams, Elan Trotman and Brown.

Four years ago, the Los Angeles born and raised DW3 issued its debut set, “On The Floor,” which peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard contemporary jazz albums chart in the U.S. while it went all the way to No. 1 on the United Kingdom’s soul chart driven by the sophisticated neo soul single “I Got You” highlighted by a sultry sax solo from multiple GRAMMY® nominee Gerald Albright. DW3’s three vocalists were 2014 GRAMMY® nominees for singing background on the Summer Horns album, an ensemble comprised of saxophone superstars Koz, Albright, Mindi Abair and Richard Elliot. Ever since DW3 served as the resident party band on the inaugural sailing of The Smooth Jazz Cruise in 2004, they’ve been part of the sold-out cruise. In addition to performing at premier festivals across the nation, the funksters maintain a long-running weekly residency at SoCal hotspot Spaghettini and serve as the house band for L.A. radio station 94.7 The Wave’s Sunday Brunch held at the same venue. Further information about DW3 is available at www.DW3music.com.

“Vintage Truth” contains the following songs:

“Let The Music” (featuring Brian Culbertson)

“Tribute (Right On)”

“I Can’t Tell You Why”

“Hold Me” (featuring Greg Adams)

“Dance With Me”

“Overjoyed”

“California Dreamin’”

“When You Cry” (featuring Dave Koz)

“She Keeps Running”

“Square One”

“So Amazing”

“At The Club” (featuring Elan Trotman)