Nov. 17, 2016
Months prior to its release, we had been forewarned of the mighty musical earthquake headed our way in the form of keys master Brian Culbertson’s latest release, simply entitled Funk!, which of course, totally embodies the very nature and feel of Culbertson’s “fingerprint.” Full of phat, infectious grooves, it has totally lived up to its early promotion.
Featuring such luminaries as keyboardist/vocalist Chance Howard and saxman Marqueal Jordan, along with other powerful support musicians (most of whom accompany Culbertson on his Funk! Tour, as well), it’s hard to imagine how this could have been anything but a party to record.
You just need to press play on this one and, as is the case with all his prior releases, the ground begins to tremble with larger-than-life feel-good vibes and a sense that this is where you belong at that very moment.
Kicking it off with “Get Ready,” the blaze never ceases but just burns straight through to the last track and into the very depths of your musical senses. Other scorching tracks of note include “The Call,” “Been Around the World,” “Take It Up,” and – well, hell, every single track that follows.
You can sense the fun they all had in recording this funk beast. Howard’s always soulful and powerful vocals and his work on synth bass mesh so well with Culbertson’s mission here – not to mention Culbertson’s own power on keys/synth and trombone.
After decades of doing this, Culbertson’s energy level just keeps increasing. Granted, he may have started dishing out his smooth jazz grooves at an early age, but as he’s grown, so has his musical instincts. It is from this growth that his fascination with funk has become so prominent in his latest recordings. It reaches a new high here with Funk!.
As many of you already know, his Funk! tour is cranking its way across the nation, and, as one who’s experienced it, it goes hand-in-hand with this album. The two provide such a clear and colorful picture of the sound here, which, by the way, incorporates a lot of that George Clinton Parliament/Funkadelic era. You simply have to experience both. A++ effort! – Ronald Jackson