Yountville, CA – Napa Valley 2015

Yountville, CA – Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway – June 2015

Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway…WOW! Now that’s a mouth full. Wow again, folks. I need to stop thinking of Brian Culbertson as the baby in the family. He’s produced and written over 20 popular singles and is in the process of producing his 14th album. And now he’s hosting this annual weekend festival…and this is year number four! Here recently I’ve mentioned two or three musician/promoter concert and festival organizers. The new breed. The last time I talked about it was Alexander Zonjic (flute player and jazz radio DJ). Nobody’s getting rich. The promoters and administrators love and care about the music and they find sponsors who must be feeling the same way. I like to call them enlightened corporate people. Someday I’ll do an editorial article about that but the long and short is that people who listen to music are smiling and happy and these are good people in the community. That’s healing. And that’s good for corporations and all of us.

So we gathered at the Lincoln Theater, first time for me, and did a really varied and full evening of music with comedy. Tonight would feature comedian Alonzo Bodden, Raul Midon, Eric Marienthal, Brian Culbertson, and of course the Al Jarreau band.

Right!! Alonzo Bodden kicked things off with some funny stories and bits that I could not hear from my dressing room except for uproar of laughter and applause and screams. I love this combination of comedy and music, and I’d love to keep that tradition going.

I hope you’ll find Raul Midon if you haven’t already. He sings and plays guitar like a madman and is thoroughly captivating and entertaining. His vocal range is off the charts and the way he strums and picks and clacks on the body of the guitar completes the rhythmic feel of his song.

When we went on, it had the distinct feeling of first timing! Well certainly it was our first time in this theater, but it also felt as though I’ve never been with this Napa Valley audience before. It’s always wonderful when folks have heard of you and know basically of what you do and are truly anticipating the real live experience. And that’s what we had at Lincoln. And just now as a group we’re also experiencing a breath of fresh spring air attitude in the music as we play and sing.

What I mean is that every touring season is preceded by head and beard scratching question marks about what new and exciting additions you can make to the program of staples that are regulars and constants. I’m not going to mention these new additions now, but they are working so well that it’s making the band’s eyes light up. Those surprises worked great with our Napa Valley revival and new audience. (Napa/Sonoma/Mendocino; this is wine country and lots of vineyards have opened their gates and improvised stages to jazz music for twenty years. But Lincoln is a real theater construction performance venue).

Of course Brian joined me on stage and brought Eric Marienthal and Raul Midon with him. This oh so obvious kind of collaboration on stage during an evening of multiple performers almost always gets neglected and goes undone.

And at the end of the evening when we did a finale of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t you Worry”, and the audience singing along, it was everything you could have asked for and a bag of chips with a new pickle and a cherry on top J.

We had a wonderful meet and greet after the show with photos and well wishes right down front. Everyone shouting, “Let’s do it again next year!

It really was a great night! See you all in Santa Barbara!



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