Brian Culbertson was a 20-year-old student at DePaul University recording demos in his bedroom “studio” in a crowded apartment that he shared with three roommates above a costume shop on a busy Chicago street. Those demos not only landed the then trombone player in DePaul’s jazz ensemble a record deal, but they were released a year later - February 1994 - as part of his debut album, “Long Night Out,” on which Culbertson played most of the instruments himself. Twenty years later, he’s an award-winning recording artist, songwriter and producer who is currently in the studio revisiting that first collection of songs that will be released in February 2014 as “Another Long Night Out,” but this time he’ll be accompanied by many of the contemporary jazz artists who influenced him when making the original.
Culbertson’s recent releases have primarily been excursions aboard R&B and funk grooves thus “Another Long Night Out” marks a return to his roots in contemporary jazz. Among the preeminent musicians joining him in the recording studio to play on the 11-song album are the Rippington’s Russ Freeman, Eric Marienthal, Candy Dulfer, Toto’s Steve Lukather, Paul Jackson Jr., Fourplay’s Chuck Loeb and Nathan East, Jimmy Haslip and Will Kennedy of Yellowjackets fame, Ricky Lawson, Michael Thompson, Lenny Castro, Michael Bland, Patches Stewart and a 38-piece orchestra with additional legendary artists soon to be added. Culbertson is producing the record.
Another major change for the keyboardist-trombonist who has released his 13-album catalogue through major record labels is that Culbertson decided to go the independent fan-funded route in order to get his worldwide fan base intimately involved with the project. In recent years, he has been a leading figure in contemporary jazz when it comes to embracing technological innovation, social media and video blogs and is energized about the new music business, the creative freedoms it affords and the opportunities to interact directly with fans.
Said Culbertson, who discusses the new project and shares footage from some of the recording sessions in his latest video blog (www.YouTube.com/BrianCulbertsonMusic), “I’m excited about being able to make the album the way I’ve always wanted to make it. With the limited resources I had at the time, most of ‘Long Night Out’ was just me on drum machines, synth bass and sampled/synth piano trying to sound like real instruments. Now I’ve got some of the best contemporary jazz musicians on the planet playing those parts. This record is a true passion project and a return to my roots as a recording artist. I’m also enthused about opening up the recording process to fans via fan funding, which is almost like having them there in the studio with us. They’ll get to hear demo versions of songs and early mixes in almost real time. The entire recording process will be documented on my video blog. Plus we’ll be offering fans extraordinary experiences such as personalized videos and phone calls, private concerts, concert tickets, video blog shout outs or a thank you in the album’s liner notes, signed sheet music and CDs, a limited edition vinyl copy of ‘Another Long Night Out,’ an opportunity to hang with me at the mastering session followed by dinner or the chance to come to a rehearsal for my 2014 tour. I can even play on your record.”
A highly-popular headline concert performer, Culbertson is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a five-day festival of wine and jazz in breathtaking Napa, California. The luminous lineup for the third edition of the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, slated for June 11-15, 2014, will be revealed by the end of the month in conjunction with the release of tickets.