Message to funk received from the Mothership: hit-maker Brian Culbertson is in the studio conspiring with his cosmic group of musical soul brothers on his second funk collection, “Funk!,” which will be released September 16 on his BCM Entertainment label. Less than a week after his seventeenth album streets, the award-winning multi-instrumentalist will launch a coast-to-coast concert tour on a scale unlike any trek ever mounted by the vivacious showman who will be flanked by the same band showcased on the album. To help set the stage for the 11-song set plus three playful interlude sketches, all produced by Culbertson, radio stations will be serviced “Been Around The World” in early July.
Those who have caught a Culbertson show over the last year might have had a premonition that the R&B-jazzman was about to again morph into an emissary of funk, a mission that began with his 2008 recording “Bringing Back The Funk,” which he co-produced with the late Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire and featured legendary funksters Bootsy Collins and Larry Graham. His set list at recent gigs included a pair of funk classics, “Got To Give It Up” and “Play That Funky Music,” which made it onto the new album. The Chicago-bred musician who plays piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, clavinet, Hammond B3 organ, synths, trombone, bass, drums, percussion and sings on the entire record wrote or co-wrote nine new songs for “Funk!” that showcases his live band – Marqueal Jordan (vocals & sax), Tyrone Chase (guitars), Eddie Miller (keyboards, organ & vocals), Rodney Jones, Jr. (bass, guitar & vocals), Chris Miskel (drums) and Michael Stever (trumpeter & horn arrangements) - along with Chance Howard, a nasty R&B keyboardist, bassist and vocalist who has toured and recorded with fellow Minnesota native Prince. Noted trumpeter Patches Stewart will replace Stever for the Funk! Tour.
Next month, Howard will join Culbertson on stage to premiere a few choice cuts from “Funk!,” including the first single, at Culbertson’s fifth anniversary Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a wine and jazz lifestyle experience in the heart of California Wine Country taking place June 8-12.
“The concept for ‘Funk!’ was to make an old-school, throwback funkadelic record in the style of P-Funk meets Prince and to tour with the same band that appears on the album - my band plus Chance (Howard). We finished tracking and are mixing this week. The show we will be taking out on the road is unlike anything anyone has ever seen from me before. It’s on an entirely different level. Yes, we’re taking it there! I’m also very excited about capturing the magic by shooting a Blu-ray to be taped on tour this fall,” said Culbertson, who as an imaginative and trend-setting artist, producer and songwriter has architected 28 Billboard No. 1 singles along with a library of chart-topping albums.
Once again, Culbertson has opened the doors to the recording studio by posting a series of video blogs from the “Funk!” sessions on his website (http://www.brianculbertson.com/funk) as well as engaging his followers through Facebook Live. And like his most recent studio release, he’s offering fans the opportunity to get involved with the process by launching an Indiegogo campaign (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/brian-culbertson-s-funk--2#/) that provides a menu of unique options, including VIP concert tickets, tickets for the Blu-ray filming, autographed CD, limited edition vinyl album, a private personalized video message, sheet music and a bobble head Funk! doll.
The songs that comprise “Funk!” are:
“Been Around The World”
“Take It Up”
“Let’s Take A Ride”
“We Got What You Want”
“Damn, I’m Hungry” (interlude)
“Got To Give It Up”
“Play That Funky Music”
“Spend A Little Time”
“To Be Continued…” (interlude)
The Funk! Tour itinerary is listed below (additional dates will be added):
September 22-25 - Seattle, WA @ Jazz Alley
September 26 - Portland, OR @ The Aladdin
September 27 - Bend, OR @ Tower Theater
October 5 - Fresno, CA @ Tower Theater
October 6 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Lobero Theater
October 7 - Newport Beach, CA @ Hyatt Newporter
October 8 - Temecula, CA @ Thornton Winery
October 9 - Scottsdale, AZ @ Livewire
October 11-12 - Denver, CO @ Soiled Dove
October 13 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room
October 14-15 - Las Vegas, NV @ Aliante Casino
October 16 - Catalina Island, CA @ Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival
October 20 - Indianapolis, IN @ Murat Theater
October 21 - Cincinnati, OH @ Ludlow Garage
October 23 - New Albany, OH @ Schottenstein Theatre
October 25 - Pittsburgh, PA @ MCG Jazz
October 26-27 - New York, NY @ B.B. King’s
October 28 - Cranston, RI @ Park Theatre
October 29 - New Haven, CT @ John Lyman Center
October 30 - Boston, MA @ Scullers Jazz Club
November 4 - Collingswood, NJ @ Scottish Rite Auditorium
November 5 - Mount Pocono, PA @ Mt. Airy Casino Resort
November 11 - Minneapolis, MN @ Dakota
November 13 - Detroit, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
Nov. 28-Dec. 2 - London, England @ Pizza Express