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


Eric Darius is a man on a mission.–so much so that his latest album is titled “On a Mission.” He is an electrifying musician whose live performances have been known to “wow” crowds of his fans. Having fallen in love with the saxophone at a very young age, he has always known that this was his destiny. And it is a destiny that he doesn’t take for granted. He is driven because he knows that he has been given a gift and is very blessed–blessed to travel around the world performing for his countless fans and blessed to be a talented musician and composer. Darius incorporates Gospel, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Pop, Rock, and R&B to create music that everyone can relate to and enjoy. He is also an advocate for exposing music to school-aged kids all the way through to college students because of what influence and impact music had on his on life as a kid. Yes, Eric is on a mission and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Listen as Eric explains it in his own words:




Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway – June 11-15, 2014‏

There is no other wine and jazz festival in the world like the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway (www.NapaValleyJazzGetaway.me) , an immersive music and lifestyle experience taking place June 11-15, 2014 showcasing a stellar lineup of performers headlined by the event’s founder and creative director Brian Culbertson who partnered  with the best wineries and restaurants in beautiful Napa Valley.

Culbertson, a charismatic contemporary jazz star who recently released his sixth album (“Another Long Night Out”) to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard chart that spawned his 27th No. 1 single as an artist, producer and songwriter, is very hands on and involved in every aspect in planning the Getaway down to the minutest detail. He curated a luminous lineup of contemporary jazz and R&B heavy-hitters to perform and prepared a full slate of wine tastings, fine dining at popular Napa restaurants and post-concert gatherings where the artists meet and mingle with the guests, many of whom will be traveling to California Wine Country from all over the globe for the third annual festival scooping up VIP (sold-out), multiday (4-day Gold and 2-Day Silver Packages) and single-day tickets.

The June 12 and June 13 concerts at the Lincoln Theater are theme nights. Jazz Legends Night (June 12) stars Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, Earl Klugh plus special guests Eric Marienthal, David Benoit and more.

Friday Night Funk Night (June 13) struts out The Ohio Players, comedian Keenen Ivory Wayans, and Brian Culbertson & The Funk Experience with Eric Darius, Marqueal Jordan and Marienthal. Before the show, the annual silent auction and wine reception will take place in the lobby to benefit The GRAMMY Foundation.

The weekend concerts move outdoors to the stunning Jamieson Ranch Vineyards grounds. Saturday’s marquee will be lit by Brian Culbertson’s 20th Anniversary Show, Morris Day & The Time, Average White Band and Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Sunday spotlights Eric Benét, Mavis Staples, Darius and Jazz in Pink featuring Gail Jhonson, Althea Rene and Karen Briggs. Between sets on both days, the crowd will be entertained by The World Famous Rick & Russ Show featuring CJ Flash.

The Napa Valley Jazz Getaway celebrates the good life while providing a taste of the idyllic Napa Valley. Daytime events scheduled for June 11 are VIP wine tastings and a luncheon while the evening offers welcome dinners at two locations: one at Round Pond for VIPs serving a performance by Benoit and Culbertson, and the sold-out dinner at Black Stallion Winery featuring live music by Cecil Ramirez and Michael Lington. Another sold-out show is “piano2piano” by Culbertson & Benoit in the round at Rutherford Hill Winery on June 13 from 12-2pm, which includes lunch and a wine tasting. After, Lington hosts a cigar & port event at Prager Winery & Port Works open to all from 2-4pm.

Wine Downs at The Westin Verasa Napa will take place afternoons June 12-15 for VIPs and Gold Package holders to enjoy wine tastings and intimate solo performances by some of the Getaway artists. After the June 12-14 concerts, VIPs and Gold Package holders are invited back to The Westin Verasa Napa for “Another Long Night Out” Late Night Hangs for music, drinks and prix fixe dining. Silver Package holders are welcome to join the Hang on June 14.

Golfers can play in the 2nd Napa Valley Jazz Getaway Golf Tournament at Chardonnay Golf Club on Saturday morning, June 14.

Growing Jazz Getaway offers a divine taste of Napa‏


Growing Jazz Getaway offers a divine taste of Napa

Brian Culbertson assembles an array of jazz & funk stars for the 2014 Napa Valley Jazz Getaway.

Los Angeles, Calif. (7 October 2013): While in the midst of the vineyards last June to shoot a promotional clip for the third annual Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, the flourishing jazz and wine festival’s Founder and Artistic Director Brian Culbertson looked into the camera and vowed “More artists, more music, more food and of course, more wine.” The hit-making contemporary jazz and R&B mixologist is making good on his promise with the unveiling of the powerhouse lineup of jazz and funk artists that will perform for the many thousands of Getaway attendees who will come from all over the U.S. to Napa Valley from June 11-15, 2014.

Slated to join Culbertson for five-days of concerts, wine tastings, fine dining and unique social opportunities are Eric Benét, Lee Ritenour, David Grusin, Ohio Players, Morris Day & The Time, Earl Klugh, Mavis Staples, Average White Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Eric Darius, David Benoit, Michael Lington, Eric Marienthal, Jazz in Pink featuring Gail Jhonson, Althea Rene and Karen Briggs, Cecil Ramirez and the comedic mind of Keenen Ivory Wayans.

VIP Packages are already sold out with Four-day Gold Packages ($499) on sale now through the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway website (www.NapaValleyJazzGetaway.me). Two-day Silver Packages ($229) will go on sale in late November.

The 2014 Napa Valley Jazz Getaway will open with several VIP-only events as well as an exclusive Welcome Dinner Concert and Jam Session at renowned chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s Wood Grill and Wine Bar with a performance by the Cecil Ramirez Quartet along with Culbertson and saxophonist Lington for which a separate ticket is required (available through the Getaway website for $125). The Thursday night theme concert on June 12th will be Jazz Legends at the Lincoln Theater, which will also be the venue for Friday Night Funk Night. The music moves outdoors on June 14 & 15 to the breathtakingly beautiful setting at Jamieson Ranch Vineyards for concerts that run from 4-10:30 PM. Afternoon happenings during the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway include a cigar and port event hosted by Lington with Ramirez and daily Wine Downs at the luxurious Westin Verasa Napa, the host hotel that for the first time will be solely reserved for guests of the Getaway. The Westin Verasa will also be the scene for the hot Late Night Hangs scheduled for Thursday through Saturday evenings post-concert during the Getaway at which fans can meet and mingle with the artists after their stroll down the Cab Carpet. As in previous editions of the Getaway, silent and live auctions will be held to benefit The GRAMMY® Foundation, which supports music education programs in schools, a mission of Culbertson, who raised nearly $100,000 for the organization during the first two Napa Valley Jazz Getaways.

Culbertson said, “It is extraordinary how much the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway has grown in just our third year and I’m so excited about our incredible lineup for 2014, our biggest and best yet. In addition to being joined by these legendary artists, I continue to invite more exquisite wineries to be involved with the Getaway as well as many more unique restaurants to be present at our outdoor events to provide a true ‘taste of Napa’ experience. I look forward to welcoming wine and jazz enthusiasts to the beautiful Napa Valley once again.”

Culbertson is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer who became a fan favorite for the vitality and prodigious skills that he brought to contemporary jazz ever since the release of his 1994 debut disc, “Long Night Out,” signaled the arrival of a consistently creative and engaging artist. The keyboardist and trombonist is back in the recording studio working on his 14th collection, a remake of the first album that he made in his crowded apartment bedroom “studio” while he was a 20-year-old college student. But this time out, instead of playing most of the instruments himself, he will be joined by an all-star collective of contemporary jazz artists comprised of many of the musicians that inspired him while recording the original. “Another Long Night Out” will be released in February 2014 in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the first record. Additional information about Culbertson is available at http://www.BrianCulbertson.me.

Highlights of the 2013 Napa Valley Jazz Getaway can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oaRaeCnhO6Y.

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.