Brian Clubertson - Come On Up


The multitalented keyboardist/trombonist and producer extraordinaire Brian Culbertson from Chicago is about to turn up the heat a few notches with his 7th and possibly most appealing release titled “Come On Up” on Warner Bros. Records. No, Brian is not necessarily doing anything that different musically however, he’s just sweeting up the stew a bit with some of the top players in contemporary jazz with 12 memorable tracks that’s bound to make it’s mark high on the charts as the summer season begins.  

The players: Steve Cole ~ Tenor Saxophone & Additional Flute, Rickey Peterson ~ Keyboards, Hammond B3 Organ, Marcus Miller & Alex Al ~ Bass, Glenn McKinney ~ Guitar, Todd Sucherman ~ Hit Hat and Cymbals, Lenny Castro ~ Timbales and Congas, Jerry Hey & Gary Grant ~ Trumpet, Bill Reichenbach ~ Tenor and Bass Trombones, Brian Ripp ~ Baritone Saxophone, Tony Maiden ~ Wah Guitar, Stephen Lu ~ Additional Keyboards and Drum Programming, Paul Jackson Jr. ~ Pad and FX Guitars, Oscar Seaton Jr. ~ Hi-Hat and Cymbals, Kenneth Crouch ~ Fender Rhodes and Wah Clavinet, Gerey Johnson & Jorge Evans ~ Guitar, Rahsaan Peterson ~ Vocals, Monty Neuble ~ Talk Box, Rick Braun ~ Muted Trumpet, Norman Brown ~ Guitar, Carly Bauer ~ Flute (Low Filtered), Michael Thompson ~ Electric and E-Bow Guitars, Steve Rodby ~ Acoustic Bass, Justin Hori ~ Scratches and Beat Box and of course Brian Culbertson ~ Piano, Keyboards, Drum Programming, Trombone, Trumpet, and Synth Bass. 

The opener titled “Intro” could be a waste however; it leaves the door of opportunity open for many possibilities. 

At the second position “Say What” resembles a pattern musically that’s graced many of Culbertson’s cd’s before therefore, making this mid-tempo song a track that smoothjazz radio will cherish from the word go featuring his homey Steve Cole on saxophone.  

Surprisingly at the 3rd spot Marcus Miller pays a visit with a rapacious funky groove called “Midnight”, this is yet another mid-tempo groove that will immediately have your head bopping with Chicagoian Steve Cole adding some rampant horn chops that makes this track well worth another listen. 

The next two tracks will remind you that Brian’s focus is still in tact and very much on his fan-base with another mid-tempo gem called “Playin’” and melodic piece titled “Days Gone By” which only compliments his abilities as a songwriter and pianist.  

Now, Brian! “What’s Up B” at the 6th position? This is one of the funkiest tunes on the cd featuring Brian playing the trombone masterfully yet somehow you’ve managed to shortchanged the listener with only a 1:50sec track come on now! 

Serpentine Fire” is a classic Earth, Wind & Fire that just happens one of my personal favorites that features Monty Neuble playing the “Talk Box” giving us a taste of Roger Trautman flavor.  

Falling in at the 8th spot is a cut called “Fly High” featuring the co-writing skills and vocals of Rahassan Patterson along with Glenn McKinney choppin guitar licks and Monty Neuble returns with his services jammin’ the “Talk Box and Wah Synth” this time around. This tune is filled with the near perfect hooks and textures keeping you in stride with the “Culbertsized” grooves! 

Last Night” features Brian’s friend Rick Braun on the muted trumpet recapturing the essence and tonality of friendship via trumpet and chording keyboard melodies that Brian expresses effortlessly.  

Guitarist and Grammy winner Norman Brown lens his scat-vocals and guitar talents to the mid-tempo title track “Come On Up” at the ten position as Justin Hori clearly accents this catchy number with “scratches and beat box”. 

Our Love” is a rebirth of melodic renderings featuring the artistry of bassist Steve Rodby, the Hammond B3 magic of Ricky Peterson and of course, Brian’s beautifully constructed piano stylings. 

Yes, you’ve done again Brian, you’ve served up another funky jam playing the trombone (this would make Wayne Henderson smile) on the second funkiest track “Funky-B” on the cd for only 1:45sec, come on now, What up B? Are you trying to tell us something here? Please, if you will play the trombone more your ability speaks volumes!  

All n all “Come On Up” is a rarity these days in the smoothjazz world, meanwhile this disc surpasses most in this genre by a long shot. Kudos for this fabulous effort, the songwriting and playing various instruments by the multitalented Brian Culbertson speaks for itself.