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Brian Culbertson


darc68

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I just discovered Brian while searching out smooth jazz piano on You-Tube. This guy is an amazing musician on both piano and trombone. His playing is incredible to say the least. He has just the right blend of Melody, Jazz, Blues etc in his playing.

 

I don`t belive I`ve ever heard discussion about him here. If there has been I`d love to read it. This is a song called "Our Love".

 

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OK, I'll bite.

 

I've never really liked him. Actually, that's mildly put. There's something fundamentally wrong about his attitude. So, some of the things he plays are pretty nice, but he's not reinventing piano playing, or setting new standards. And by the looks of some of his performances, one gets the impression that he thinks he does.

 

[video:youtube]

 

Brian plays pretty basic blues licks straight outta the book, yet he's loving himself like nothing I've ever seen - he even manages to surpass the worst of guitarists. Although I'm not keen on his compositions or his basic sound, I can understand if some are. But some modesty would definitely suit the man.

 

 

Niels

When in doubt, superimpose pentatonics.
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Wow. I just don't know what to say about that video above from Niels.

 

Never really listened to Culbertson's music before, and after checking out both videos, I've seen enough.

 

I think this defines what I said before about too much "entertainment" at the expense of the music.

 

I just found the entire thing annoying and really didn't see much redeeming value in the music, personally.

 

It did crack me up when the audience went wild as he held the low Bb about 1:47 like it was some magical feat of musical brilliance (which speaks volumes about his audience).

 

Yeah, he digs himself a little bit, but he really should pick up some new dance moves, since that "shimmy" thing he does is so Axl Rose from "Sweet Child O' Mine" in 1987.

 

Meh!

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I don't think he's "playing" it. It's just his attitude and there's nothing wrong with it. IMO he is trying to entertain audience and this is a good thing - especially when one plays instrumental music. He is neither the best pianist out there, nor the best trombonist or composer, but who cares? He's decent for what he does, although his music does not speak to me at all...
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I think I could have taken the video Niels posted as him having fun, a cute shtick, or something like that if the the clip didn't start with

 

BRIAN CULBERTSON

#1 SMOOTH JAZZ ARTIST

 

:sick:

 

Isn't that like saying "the most popular fast food hamburger"?

 

(I'm not saying I like Culbertson's stuff, just that his routine could be seen as forgivable in the right context.)

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I`m not sure when the clip "Niller" posted was from but the videos I saw were mostly studio clips. Those were nothing like "Niller`s" posting. I never though to myself this guys is the best I`ve ever seen. However I do think he is a good player that clearly knows how to play.

 

Thanks for your feedback though forumites.

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Cats like Culbertson found their niche in Smooth Jazz. That audience comes out to hear instrumental R&B/Pop. Not serious Jazz chops. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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I'll just qualify my impression of Culbertson to say, I haven't seen or heard any sample of playing from him that intrigues me. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but I'm not about to go on a treasure hunt to find it. Simple blues licks played with no feel and moderate-speed pentatonic runs just don't impress me, which is what I'm seeing here. Compositionally it just seems like pop with no vocals.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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Cats like Culbertson found their niche in Smooth Jazz. That audience comes out to hear instrumental R&B/Pop. Not serious Jazz chops. :cool:

 

+1. But the problem is, even with posturing such as he does, it lacks the entertainment value of a pop act with a frontperson/singer. And, it tends to sound sterile, and lack the grit, energy, or sexuality, or SOMETHING that a singer can portray. I think that's the biggest problem with smooth jazz in general. Sometimes, I've seen some smooth jazz artists live (festivals), and it's obvious when they are jazz musicians first ... at least live it doesn't seem so sterile. But everything in that clip from above sounds like it could come off his record. Just my .02.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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But the problem is, even with posturing such as he does, it lacks the entertainment value of a pop act with a frontperson/singer. And, it tends to sound sterile, and lack the grit, energy, or sexuality, or SOMETHING that a singer can portray. I think that's the biggest problem with smooth jazz in general.

IMO, Smooth Jazz is musical junk food adults consume while they work, play and relax. They don't really care about the artist or music. It is background noise allowing them to unwind from life responsibilities. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Every time I hear this kind of smooth jazz, I am puzzled, and saddened too. I can't help seeing images of yuppies and businessmen, and their totally fake world driven by money and shallowness, detached from the concept of art as it's humanly possible.

On the other hand, the musicians playing it are very skilled, jazz or not, and they play it with passion, and I feel I have to respect that. (On the first video, Steve Rodby and Ricky Peterson are listed - incorrectly - among the musicians)

And this brings the next image to my mind: Someone approaching these musicians, saying more or less: "What you prefer, keep playing in small clubs for a few people, or playing big stages and making much more money?"

In these rough times, I don't now what I would answer.

 

(no wait, there's no smooth jazz market in Italy, so no chance this would happen... :D )

 

 

 

 

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And this brings the next image to my mind: Someone approaching these musicians, saying more or less: "What you prefer, keep playing in small clubs for a few people, or playing big stages and making much more money?"

That carrot has enticed many talented Jazz musos to dabble in other styles of music for more than half-century.

 

Smooth Jazz just bridged the gap. Now, Jazz musos can play R&B and Pop instrumentals on 'Jazz' festivals. :laugh::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Not that I haven't been guilty of blanket statements in the past, but to categorically dismiss all music which has been classified as smooth jazz is narrow-minded.

 

There is good and bad music. No wait, there is only music you like and music you don't like.

 

As for Culbertson, his music isn't really for me but I respect him for what he is, a good musician.

 

 

But his hair is inexplicable.

 

 

 

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Four months ago, I was on a jazz festival and played after Culbertson's band, so I met him and heard some of the set. Impressions: He's good at his craft, a showman and a salesman for his music. He's a good player at what he does. The band was well rehearsed, high energy - the horn players were apparently jazz players.

 

I know the standard argument for any smooth jazz is: at least it's selling a diluted form of better quality music and it's good whenever an instrumental band goes over with a crowd. Still, I have difficulty accepting diluted positives, but I'm certain they're better than many groups that do this type of thing.

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The guy found a way to make a good living.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find 700 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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Not that I haven't been guilty of blanket statements in the past, but to categorically dismiss all music which has been classified as smooth jazz is narrow-minded.

 

There is good and bad music. No wait, there is only music you like and music you don't like.

 

As for Culbertson, his music isn't really for me but I respect him for what he is, a good musician.

 

 

But his hair is inexplicable.

 

 

Well said Zeph, although if people don't like smooth jazz as a whole who am I to tell them they're wrong. I can dig on some of the smooth jazz that is harmonically more adventurous or grooves so damn hard because the most happening brothers are playing it totally slamming and it's almost like instrumental modern gospel. Often I'll dig it for its production as a whole more than the great 'lead' playing.

 

 

On this, the piano playing gets a B but the groove laid down by Jeff Porcaro, Lenny Castro and Abe Laboriel gets an A++++.

 

Freedom at Midnight Album Version

 

On these, the production is slamming.

 

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE8OJOE62aw

 

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q90uUAGLlxI

 

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Not that I haven't been guilty of blanket statements in the past, but to categorically dismiss all music which has been classified as smooth jazz is narrow-minded.

 

There is good and bad music. No wait, there is only music you like and music you don't like.

 

As for Culbertson, his music isn't really for me but I respect him for what he is, a good musician.

 

 

But his hair is inexplicable.

 

 

Well said Zeph, although if people don't like smooth jazz as a whole who am I to tell them they're wrong. I can dig on some of the smooth jazz that is harmonically more adventurous or grooves so damn hard because the most happening brothers are playing it totally slamming and it's almost like instrumental modern gospel. Often I'll dig it for its production as a whole more than the great 'lead' playing.

 

 

On this, the piano playing gets a B but the groove laid down by Jeff Porcaro, Lenny Castro and Abe Laboriel gets an A++++.

 

Freedom at Midnight Album Version

 

On these, the production is slamming.

 

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE8OJOE62aw

 

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q90uUAGLlxI

+1

-Greg

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The appreciation of music is far to important to be left exclusively to musicians.

 

I'm sure I'm paraphrasing someone but that's my opinion.

You want me to start this song too slow or too fast?

 

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The appreciation of music is far to important to be left exclusively to musicians.

 

I agree completely. However, I also think that if a higher value were placed in our culture on arts, the general public would demand a bit more substance in their entertainment than they do. (On the spectrum of it all, what Culbertson does would probably be an improvement if it were truly considered pop ... but calling is jazz really isn't accurate.) It's not going to get any better with music programs being cut in schools ...

 

FWIW some of the most avid jazz fans I know are not musicians. Maybe they played trumpet in grade school ... they know and appreciate what it takes to have skill and care about music, but they aren't musicians.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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The appreciation of music is far to important to be left exclusively to musicians.

 

I agree completely. However, I also think that if a higher value were placed in our culture on arts, the general public would demand a bit more substance in their entertainment than they do. It's not going to get any better with music programs being cut in schools ...

IMO, no amount of nutritional education has stopped folks from eating McDs. :laugh:

 

I believe the same goes for musical 'junk food'. I'm guilty of listening to stuff that has little or no harmonic or melodic value.

 

So, I wouldn't completely dismiss any style/genre. There is good and bad music in all of it. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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I like some Joe Sample's work and he's often in smooth jazz.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find 700 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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I'm not into smooth jazz, usually it sounds to me like background music for malls or an XX film. Not enough spicy for me.

 

But I don't like to disrespect the musicians doing it, I've heard a thousand worse musicians playing worse music than that.

I usually feel that sometimes it's a waste to see talented musicians playing that kind of music, but anyway, I guess they're just making their living the best they can (probably better than many)

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