Super trio BWB is in the mood to party Memphis style

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Super trio BWB is in the mood to party Memphis style 

The self-titled album from long-time friends Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun

is the first set written by the hit-makers. Their Artistry Music debut arrives April 22.

SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF. (23 March 2016): You can almost smell the tangy barbecue sauce dripping from the forthcoming third album “BWB” by chart-topping trio BWB, who throw down like a sweaty garage band at a Memphis backyard house party on their debut for the Artistry Music label arriving April 22. It’s the first time the band made up of GRAMMY® winners Norman Brown (guitar, vocals) and Kirk Whalum (saxophone, flute, vocals) and Rick Braun (trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone, vocals) cooked up a festive, sticky-fingered feast of ten new contemporary jazz, R&B, soul and funk joints. Braun produced the session in his suburban Los Angeles-area home studio where the band moved in with their families and lived together for an entire week. The result is a collaborative disc celebrating brotherhood and live music. The tantalizing title track is the first radio cut, which enters Billboard’s Top 10 on next week’s singles chart and appears to be ticketed for the top spot.

Anytime the three solo stars get together to record, it’s an instant candidate for event album of the year in the contemporary jazz world. BWB has been itching to record original material ever since they first recorded as a high-wattage trio in 2002 when they released a collection of covers entitled “Groovin’.” Over a decade later, they reunited as a combo in 2013 with “Human Nature,” paying tribute to Michael Jackson’s songbook and scoring their first No 1 hit with “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground).” This time around, they decided to compose the material entirely on their own, creating party jams specifically with their spirited live shows in mind.

As Braun tells it, “A long time ago in a faraway galaxy, three brothers dreamed of recording a CD of all original material as a band. Although the evil forces of time and geography stood in their way for many years, a dream is a powerful idea and ultimately the collective, creative force will prevail. And in that spirit, Norman and Kirk moved into my house for a short week with their loved ones. We played our horns, sang, drank wine, wrote, laughed and lived together. Thus it began!”

Primarily instrumental with a batch of tunes amped up by fun-filled vocal refrains and catchy, sing-a-long choruses, BWB’s members wove DNA from their hometowns into the music mix. With Whalum’s Memphis soul serving as the nucleus, Braun’s Philly funk atoms and Brown’s Kansas City jazz genes add flavor, flair and some old-school stank to the homegrown offering that struts and seduces with swagger and sophistication along with a devilish dash of mischief. An equally important nonmusical component is incorporating the enduring love and joy of treasured friendships that exists between the musicians.

“As I grow wiser, grayer and more awesomer (!), I realize just how important relationships are to me –– much more important even than music. But how awesome it is to make great music with great friends! This is a glorious bonus and a wonderful journey. I am grateful for “the Chord of three strands” that is BWB,” Whalum testified.

Brown concurred enthusiastically. “I believe in the Master Mind! Two or more minds joined in harmony with a common goal will surely connect to higher source energy. BWB is a brilliant vibration channeling a spirit of joyful elevation. I love my brothers!”

BWB are touring throughout the year in support of the new album playing festival dates including Boscov’s Berks Jazz Festival (April 8), Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival (April 16), St. Lucia Jazz Festival (May 7), Steel City Jazz Festival (June 4), Tri-C Jazz Festival (June 25), QC Summerfest (July 31), Wolf Creek Jazz Festival (September 4) and the Capital Jazz SuperCruise (October 23) as well as a pair of Texas dates in Austin at the One World Theatre (May 27) and Houston at Dosey Doe (May 28).

The songs contained on “BWB” are:

“Triple Dare”

“Bust A Move”

“BWB”

“Bolly Bop”

“I Want You Girl”

“Lemonade”

“Memphis Steppin’”

“Hey Baby”

“North Star”

“Turn Up”

For more information, please visit www.MackAvenue.com.

Jazzfest Performances

June 21st at the Time Warner Cable Uptown Ampitheatre the line-up for a night a smooth jazz was stellar. The sky was blue and sun was bright. Local group 5th and York kicked the show off. Peter White and Euge Groove took to the stage and grooved us into the sunset. Peter played a couple of his songs as Euge grooved with him. Then the “House of Groove”, Euge that is, played his saxophone and drew the crowd in with hand clapping high energy. Peter and Euge complimented one another extremely well. Their chemistry was outstanding. They sent the crowd into a “chillaxin” mood perfectly indicative of the sun setting overhead. Night fell, darkness filled the sky, and the Charlotte sky line was beautifully lit up as Brian Culbertson graced the stage. He did so in classic Brian Culbertson style. He jammed with his new band from start to finish. His incredible vocalists Selina Albright and Jason Morales showed off their skills with duet’s and solo’s. WHEW!! The sound coming form the speakers kept the energy high and the crowd grooving. He slowed us down with “It’s On Tonight.” Then the unexpected as well as my favorite moment of the night happened. He took us down memory lane in Brian style and performed “Secret Garden.” It was for me the highlight of his show. He took his time and played his keyboard with pure passion.

June 22nd, night 2 under the sun, the moon, and the stars was jumpstarted by Gregg Karukas. He started the show off nice and easy. He opened with “Wild Wood” from his latest CD. Vincent Ingala joined him on stage and accompanied him on a few songs. Gregg’s working on his 12th CD. He played a few of the songs and asked the crowd to help him come up with a title. Guests were able to write down their suggestions and give them to him during the meet and greet session. That was pretty cool. Marion Meadows, Paul Taylor, and Vincent Ingala came to the stage playing 3 saxophones and heated things up a bit. They each shared music from their individual projects, and of course they jammed as a trio. Joe McBride wooed the crowd with his amazing vocals while playing the keyboard. During which, Vincent put his saxophone down and picked up a guitar and started playing. The entire band was electrifying and energizing. Ending the evening for us was Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, and Rick Braun aka as BWB. What a combination they are. They grooved, they sang, and engaged the crowd from start to finish. Each artist played individually taking us down memory lane with some of their songs. When they began to play songs from their new release “Human Nature”, all everyone could do is sing along. That was quite amazing being that it was a couple of days away from the 4 year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. What a beautiful tribute to an unforgettable legend.

Peter White

Peter White


Euge Groove

Euge Groove


Brian Culbertson

Brian Culbertson


Brian Culbertson

Brian Culbertson


Selina Albright and Brian Culbertson

Selina Albright and Brian Culbertson


Peter White and Euge Groove

Peter White and Euge Groove


Gregg Karukas

Gregg Karukas


Gregg Karukas

Gregg Karukas


Vincent Ingala and Gregg Karukas

Vincent Ingala and Gregg Karukas


Vincent Ingala, Marion Meadows, and Paul Taylor

Vincent Ingala, Marion Meadows, and Paul Taylor


Marion Meadows

Marion Meadows


Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor


Marion Meadows and Paul Taylor

Marion Meadows and Paul Taylor


Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, and Rick Braun aka BWB

Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, and Rick Braun aka BWB


Norman Brown

Norman Brown


Kirk Whalum

Kirk Whalum


Rick Braun

Rick Braun


BWB

BWB

Let’s talk Rick Braun

Rick Braun has been entertaining us for many years with his chart topping award winning hits. He’s collaborated with some of the best to bring us songs like “Shake it Up” with Boney James which won the Best Collaboration Award. His work with Richard Elliott in “RNR” went to #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. It’s no surprise that he’s a much sought after producer. He’s definitely proven that he has what it takes.

Rick is skilled in more than just one area of music which makes him versatile as an artist. He’s a vocalist who was once a back-up singer for artists like Rod Steward, Sade, and Tina Turner. That’s something that most people probably wouldn’t know. Now he’s chosen to display his vocals on his latest project titled “Rick Braun Sings With Strings.” He covered songs that we all know and love such as “Time After Time,” and some we may not be as familiar with like “Once Upon A Summertime.” Rick created a project that would beautifully display his trumpet playing skills, as well as his vocal abilities.

Rick tells me all about it.

Rick Braun

Rick Braun

Rick Braun

Rick Braun

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A talk with Norman Brown

Grammy Award Winner Norman Brown talks to me about his love for music and the guitar. From those who inspired him, to his huge decision to move to LA after High School to pursue his dream, Norman reveals how it all came together. He quickly established himself as one of the best guitar players. From his debut album in 1992 “Just Between Us” to his collaboration with Gerald Albright in 2012 “24/7”, Brown has continuously given us great music. He shows off his vocal skills on his project “West Coast Coolin”, and then again on his R&B hit “Stay With Me.” Finally, Norman can add Broadcaster to the list of his accomplishments. He once hosted his own weekend radio show on the Smooth Jazz Network.

In his own words.

Norman Brown

Norman Brown

Norman Brown

Norman Brown

BWB

BWB

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Napa Valley Jazz Getaway June 5-9

Idyllic Napa Valley will serve as the beatific backdrop for a festival of wine and jazz next month when the second Napa Valley Jazz Getaway (www.napavalleyjazzgetaway2013.com) takes place June 5-9 featuring a luminous lineup of performers topped by the event’s Founder & Artistic Director Brian Culbertson (www.brianculbertson.me). The soulful hit-making multi-instrumentalist will be joined by Grammy winners Take 6, Ray Parker Jr., Norman Brown and Kirk Whalum united with Rick Braun as BWB, funksters Larry Graham & Graham Central Station, saxophonists Eric Darius and Michael Lington, guitarist Nick Colionne, R&B vocalist Selina Albright, keyboardist Cecil Ramirez, party band DW3 and special guest comedian Sinbad. With this much talent on display, it’s no wonder that the VIP and Silver ticket packages sold out months ago.

Over 1,200 festival goers from all over the nation will flock to California wine country for concerts at the Napa Valley Opera House and Lincoln Theater while more intimate shows will be held at several wineries including Silver Oak and Chimney Rock. VIPs will be treated to a solo piano performance by Culbertson staged in the wine cave at Miner Family Winery, which was one of the most buzzed about shows at last year’s inaugural event.

The Napa Valley Jazz Getaway is a not-to-be-missed interactive lifestyle experience at which fans can share their passion for wine and jazz with the musicians while dining, during wine receptions and tastings, at autograph sessions, at a golf tournament at Silverado Resort & Spa, and at casual post-concert hangs at the Westin Verasa Napa. Prior to the June 8th concert, a silent auction and wine reception will be held in support of music education to benefit The GRAMMY Foundation at which many of the winery partners will provide complimentary pourings.

One of the brightest stars in the contemporary jazz galaxy, award-winning musician, songwriter and producer Culbertson is a consistent chart-topper with a catalogue that spans 13 solo albums along with hits that he wrote and produced for other marquee artists. Known for distilling a soul-splashed vintage of shimmering jazz, funk grooves and sophisticated R&B-pop, creating the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway has enabled the dynamic artist to prove his mettle as a lifestyle curator. Culbertson is a consummate entertainer who has a hot new band and a slamming show that is certain to get and keep people on their feet each time they hit the stage in Napa.