They met for the first time when they were music majors at DePaul University. Flash forward, Michelle and Brian Culbertson celebrated their twentieth wedding anniversary last month. With love, romance and his wife serving as his motivation, the soulful contemporary jazz hit-maker started writing material earlier this year inspired by the occasion, crafting thirteen new songs that will be released as “Colors of Love,” his eighteenth album, on Valentine’s Day on the BCM Entertainment label. The seduction begins early next month when the amorous title track, a sensual R&B groove illuminated by Culbertson’s lyrical acoustic piano melodies typical of the collection’s contents, ships to radio. A nearly three-month-long U.S. concert tour will bring “Colors of Love” to life in a vivid theatrical production with the itinerary being revealed December 1.
Culbertson is thriving creatively on this, his third independent album funded by an Indiegogo campaign (http://bit.ly/2wr3kt9), which closes this Thursday and offers unique opportunities and exclusive perks including a bonus track. Having spent the majority of his career on a major label, the freedom to follow his creative muse is readily apparent on “Colors of Love,” a complete contrast to last year’s “Funk!” set, which was a lively, full-band funk/R&B workout that features a number of vocal cuts. He describes “Colors of Love” as “purposely electronic, using very modern sounds and production” with his acoustic piano serving as the singular lead voice throughout the intimate date. The quiet and contemplative tracks are textured atmospherics and gentle R&B grooves - soothing beds for Culbertson’s melodic piano expressions of ardor.
Sharing the recording process via Facebook live, Culbertson polled his audience and they voted that “Colors of Love” be instrumental only. He took it a step further and for the first time in his career that to date has racked up 30 No. 1 Billboard singles as an artist, producer and/or songwriter, he refrained from using saxophone or guitar as lead instruments - only his poetic piano.
“The music on ‘Colors of Love’ explores all aspects of what love is. It’s a deep word that says a lot of things. There’s passionate love, love at first sight, longing love, lost love. Each color represents a different type of love. There are heart-wrenching songs, cuddly love - all kinds of different love songs,” said Culbertson, who played all of the instruments on the new record except for rhythm guitar (Isaiah Sharkey) and accordion (Peter White).
“I’ve been playing ‘Through the Years’ from the new album in my set since the Berks Jazz Fest last April. The response has been very emotional. Clearly this music touches a nerve – or the heart to be more exact.”
Culbertson is already at work on how he will present “Colors of Love” live during the U.S. concert trek that runs March 28 through June 17 with tickets going on sale December 8. He’s planning to incorporate a video element in a major way.
“It’s going to be a very theatrical presentation with video images and lighting timed to the music. This music is visual and cinematic thus the show needs to be visual to complement the experience. It’s going to be larger than life when you see it live.”
“Colors of Love” contains the following songs:
“I Want You”
“Colors of Love”
“Through the Years”
“In A Dream”
“In Your Embrace”
“All My Heart”
A bonus track will be available exclusively for Indiegogo supporters.