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:
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.