Contemporary jazz-R&B funkster Brian Culbertson has had love on his mind essentially since last Valentine’s Day. Inspired by the occasion of his twentieth wedding anniversary last fall, the keyboardist began writing thirteen new songs about a year ago dedicated to his wife, Michelle, which make up his “Colors of Love” album that was released on Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, by BCM Entertainment. Substituting the live band instrumentation customary of his recordings, Culbertson crafted an intimate set of ardent acoustic piano melodies using sensual synth grooves and textures. With the title track of his eighteenth album that he wrote, arranged and produced already in the Billboard Top 5, his attention is fixed on creating the highly-theatrical production he’ll take on the road for nearly three months beginning March 30 across the bridge from Philadelphia in Collingswood, New Jersey and concluding in Seattle on June 17.
Culbertson showcases his proficiency as a multi-instrumentalist by playing virtually all the instruments heard on “Colors of Love” – piano, keyboards, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3 organ, synth bass, drum programming, percussion and trumpet. The only supplementation came from guitarist Isaiah Sharkey along with an ethereal accordion passage from Peter White on the song “In A Dream.” Impassioned tracks like “I Want You,” “Love Transcended,” “Don’t Go,” “You’re Magic,” “Let’s Chill,” “Desire,” “In Your Embrace” and “The Look” employ caressing melodies and sultry rhythms to allure, soothe and seduce. Even more revealing and evocative is the ravishing piano poetry of “Through The Years,” “Michelle’s Theme” and “All My Heart,” poignant solo pieces that Culbertson uses effectively to tell wordless stories of romance and amorous contemplation.
As he lovingly conceived the cozy collection depicting the many different “colors” of romantic love, Culbertson envisioned mounting an elaborate concert presentation utilizing video and lighting to present the cherished material in an immersive multimedia experience.
“I’m in the midst of creating a stunning-looking show, working closely with my lighting director and visual designer. We’re using a Visualizer to play each track to design and run the lighting and videos as if it was a live show right there on our computer screens. It enables us to dial in every little nuance of the music so that each video and light is precisely timed to the music. The detail is really amazing. I am loving the process of creating the production for the tour,” said Culbertson, who will begin ten days of production rehearsals in Nashville with his band in mid-March.
Culbertson’s Colors of Love Tour has already announced 66 shows in 50 cities with more soon to be added to the itinerary. The nationwide trek includes a June 7 performance at Culbertson’s seventh annual Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a five-day music, wine and lifestyle experience held in the heart of California Wine Country.
“The ‘Colors of Love’ show will be staged in three acts. The first and third acts will showcase the new album along with romance-themed selections from my catalogue. In fact, we’re going to be drawing heavily from my ‘It’s On Tonight’ album,” explained Culbertson. “We’re not planning to do any big horn section pieces during this tour like I’ve done in the past and did extensively during last year’s Funk! Tour, but the second act will be a slamming funk set guaranteed to get everyone up and dancing.”
Joining the keyboardist-pianist-trombone player on tour are drummer Chris Miskel, bassist Joewaun Scott, guitarist Tyrone Chase, keyboardist-vocalist Eddie Miller, and Marqueal Jordan on saxophones, vocals and percussion.
“I asked Marqueal to bring his soprano sax for this tour. The sound fits the intimate ambience of the music we’re going to perform. It’s the first time in over a decade that I’ve used soprano sax in my live show,” said Culbertson, who describes the “Colors of Love” album as “textural ear candy cinematic in nature.”
As Culbertson shares his anniversary and Valentine’s Day gift to his wife with the world on record and during the upcoming tour, expect the architect of 30 Billboard No. 1 singles as an artist, producer and/or songwriter to add to that stat.
For more information, including concert dates, please visit www.BrianCulbertson.com.