Berks Jazz Fest 2008: Brian Culbertson

Berks08_Culbertson.jpgKeyboardist Brian Culbertson had an all-new band and a complete new show promoting his current CD Bringing Back The Funk, which was produced by former EWF front man Maurice White and features many funk legends like Larry Dunn, Larry Graham and more. Brian always had a love for old-school funk and now dedicates a whole album to it. He appeared at the Scottish Rite Cathedral and I guess that this was one of their very first shows, Brian has assembled a veritable funk machine, the stage was crowded by a four-piece horn section, drums, bass, an extra keyboardist with a hammond B3, two guitar players (one of them being Sheldon Reynolds who played with EWF for 15 years), plus a saxophone player who took care of all the solos. They were delivering some hammering funk which at times was almost a little overwhelming, they were rushing through funk history with nods to Kool & the Gang, some P-Funk, Parliament/Funkadelic etc., especially nice was their rendition of Donny Hathaway's "Everything Is Everything" (showing that Brian knows his stuff). Those who love the back catalog of this artist got their share too, he played some beautiful slower tracks showing his considerable skills on the piano, additionally he played the trombone (funking up things) and the bass, where he was slapping along. At the end we got the expected funk finale which blew the audience virtually away. This wrapped up this year's Berks Jazz Festival up nicely, having me say to myself: I will be back next year!