Title - 'Live: 20th Anniversary Tour'
Artist - Brian Culbertson
Everything about this CD, well, double CD is amazing! Whether you're a truly devoted fan of Brian Culbertson, a steady admirer of his work, or just a casual passerby, everything on this monster 22 track double CD is well worth your listening time.
I mean, even the artwork is amazing to look at, the fold-out manner of the packaging clean and bright, the actual 22 tracks all worth the price of admission. But this collection is not just another live set pulled from thin air, because Culbertson actually celebrates a milestone anniversary with Live: 20th Anniversary Tour.
For this is the second live recording (Live From The Inside, 2009) from the multi-genre, multi-instrumentalist - released on his 42nd birthday on his own BCM Entertainment label - and together with a tight eight-piece band, Live celebrates the fusion of jazz, fusion, R&B, romantic piano pop and deep funk grooves quite like nothing that has gone before.
Inclusive of a rather brilliant horn section arrangement, Live kicks off with 'City Lights Intro,' before heading into the smooth jazz of tracks such as 'Always Remember,' Kool & The Gang's funk-tastic classic 'Hollywood Swinging,' 'Do You Really Love Me?,' and then both 'Come To Me' and 'All About You.'
Featuring musicians out of Chicago who have been playing with Culbertson for years - Marqueal Jordan (vocals, tenor sax & percussion), Eddie Miller (keyboards, Hammond B3 organ & vocals), Michael Stever (trumpet & keyboards), Adam Hawley (guitar & background vocals), Rodney Jones Jr. (bass) and Chris Miskel (drums), Doug Beavers (trombone & additional percussion) and Doug Rowan (Bari sax) - it's plainly clear from the off that Culbertson has a formidable understanding of the keys and how to breakdown the complex into the simple.
Indeed, it makes you smile when you realize what is being presented here isn't rocket science, but a genuine passion for what he does. The first disc is rounded out by 'Let's Get Started,' 'Fullerton Ave.', 'Beautiful Liar,' 'Get It On,' and then the trio of classics, 'Skies Wide Open,' 'Another Love,' and finally 'Horizon.'
Live's spirited celebration of all-things Culbertson sets things alight from the very first track on the second disc, 'Think Free,' a brand new track, and the album’s initial radio single written by Culbertson and Sheldon Reynolds especially for the occasion. Next up is 'Dreams,' 'On My Mind,' and then both Quincey Jones' 'Secret Garden' and a cover of Earth, Wind & Fire's 'Serpentine Fire.'
As you can tell from the tracks listed thus far, Live embraces not only Culbertson’s chart-topping original compositions, adds in that new number that kicks off the second disc, but his set list also pays tribute to his own influences. The second disc then rounds out with 'Funkin' Like My Father,' 'City Lihts Outro,' the encore of 'Our Love,' and as a CD bonus, 'Forever' as a bonus track.
In truth, the tunes flow beautifully, there are not weak spots here, and you will arrive at the end of both the CDs with the desire to listen to them both all over again; you have my word.