2015 Artist Lineup
Brian Culbertson, founder and artistic director of the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, began his musical journey at the age of 8 on piano, adding drums at 9, trombone at 10 then bass at 12. He grew up near Chicago, Illinois, loving genre-crossing jazz-pop artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago, Tower of Power, The Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn, Yellowjackets and Chick Corea. So naturally gifted was Brian, his 7th grade piano recital consisted of all original tunes. Brian flourished in high school bands where he won several Downbeat® Magazine student awards before moving downtown Chicago to complete his musical studies at DePaul University. He then went on to compose jingles for clients such as United Airlines, Gatorade, Sears and McDonald’s in the bustling city’s highly competitive advertising community throughout the 90's.
In 1994, at age 20, Brian self-produced his debut album, Long Night Out. Since then, Brian has released fourteen more albums, toured around the world, seen his name at the top of Billboard and radio charts, worked and performed with industry all-stars like Maurice White, Larry Graham, Ray Parker Jr., Musiq Soulchild, Ledisi, Chuck Brown, and “Bootsy” Collins to name a few, and received numerous awards including being nominated for a 2012 NAACP Image Award and a 2012 Soul Train Award. Regardless of his success, fans can rest assured that with 15 albums and counting, Brian Culbertson always brings his very best - and brings the very best out of others - in all of his broad-ranging musical endeavors. Check out Brian’s current album, Another Long Night Out -- a complete re-imagining of Long Night Out, featuring some of the legends of jazz that inspired him over 20 years ago.
*Brian is putting together three completely different shows as part of the 2015 Getaway with each show featuring special guests. Don't miss these one time shows!
Friday, June 12th - "The Funk Show" feat. Fred Welsey, Eric Darius, Eric Marienthal & Marqueal Jordan
Saturday, June 13th - "The R&B Show" feat. Kenny Lattimore & Maysa
Sunday, June 14th - "The Smooth Jazz Show" feat. a special guest to be announced!
Al Jarreau’s unique vocal style is one of the world’s most precious treasures. His innovative musical expressions have made him one of the most exciting and critically-acclaimed performers of our time with seven Grammy® Awards, scores of international music awards and popular accolades worldwide.
It’s not surprising that he has perfected his technique to such an art. After all, he has been singing since the age of four, harmonizing with his brothers and performing solo at a variety of local events in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Al’s career breakthrough came in 1977 when Warner Brothers Records released Look to the Rainbow, his live double album, which was culled from his first world tour from that same year, and earned the vocalist his first Grammy® for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.
After more than 30-years Al Jarreau is undoubtedly one of the greatest performers and innovative vocalists the music world has ever known. Time Magazine called him ‘the greatest jazz singer alive’ and ‘The Very Best Of Al Jarreau: An Excellent Adventure” illustrates perfectly the reason why.
*Al Jarreau's show is only available as part of the 4-Day Gold Package.
Chaka Khan is one of the world's most gifted and celebrated musicians, with a rich musical legacy, the 10-time GRAMMY® Award-winner is looking forward to a celebration of a lifetime. A songwriter, actor, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur and activist, Chaka Khan has influenced generations of recording artists. She has the rare ability to sing in seven music genres, including R&B, pop, rock, gospel, country, world music and classical. Affectionately known around the world as Chaka, she is revered by millions of fans as well as her peers for hertimeless, classic and unmatched signature music style and ability. The late, great Miles Davis often said, "She [Chaka] sings like my horn." And the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin says, "[Chaka] is a one- of- a -kind, premier vocalist."
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, he took up the clarinet at the age of eight and switched to saxophone when he was ten. Raised in New Rochelle, New York, he was influenced by Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire and saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. When James was 14, his family moved to Los Angeles. He received a degree in History from UCLA and began playing music full-time after graduation. After 7 years of touring as a sideman with such artists as Morris Day, The Isley Brothers, Randy Crawford and Bobby Caldwell, he released his debut record as a leader, 1992's "Trust". Boney resides in Los Angeles with his wife, award winning actress-filmmaker Lily Mariye (best known as Nurse Lily Jarvik on ER for 15 seasons).
In addition to his four GRAMMY nominations, James is a Soul Train Award winner (Best Jazz Album) and has been honored with two NAACP Image Award nominations for Best Jazz Album. He has accumulated four RIAA Certified Gold Records. To date, ten of James' albums have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart and two have reached the top 10 on the R&B Albums Chart, a rare feat for an instrumental artist.
Boney is also renowned for his compelling live performances. According to The Boston Globe: “Let’s make something perfectly clear: James is not a smooth jazz player. Yeah, he is often grouped with people like Kenny G and Najee, but his music is muscular and gritty….James swaggers across the stage like a blacktop hero draining trays on an overmatched opponent. He even weaves his way through the crowd, all but daring them not to have a good time.”
Spyro Gyra is a jazz juggernaut who released their 30th album of new material, The Rhinebeck Sessions, in 2013. Theirs is an unlikely story of a group with humble beginnings in Buffalo, NY who has continued to reach an international audience over nearly forty years, resulting in sales of over 10 million albums and having played over five thousand shows on five continents.
They have accomplished this due to a forward-looking approach combined with the work ethic of an underdog: always challenging themselves to do something new while never resting on past success. 2014 marks forty years from their start in a Buffalo club where they were first known as "Tuesday Night - Jazz Jam."
"My hope is that our music has the same effect on the audience that it does on me," says group leader Jay Beckenstein. "I’ve always felt that music, and particularly instrumental music, has this non-literal quality that lets people travel to a place where there are no words. Whether it’s touching their emotions or connecting them to something that reminds them of something much bigger than themselves, there’s this beauty in music that’s not connected to sentences. It’s very transportive. I would hope that when people hear our music or come to see us, they’re able to share that with us."
Every now and then an artist bursts onto the scene, changing the rules and challenging the status quo. Eric Darius is one of those artists fearlessly pushing all musical boundaries. He is one of the most exciting musicians to enter the Contemporary Jazz scene in the last decade.
His explosive arrival as a recording artist at the age of 17 caused a frenzy! Now, with four critically acclaimed albums under his belt, a Number One hit single and Five Top 10 radio hits on Nielsen’s R&R/Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts, 30-year-old Shanachie recording artist, Eric Darius, is on a mission.
Prophetically hailed Debut Artist of the Year by Smooth Jazz News in 2004, Eric has toured worldwide and shared the stage with innumerable renown artists, such as Prince, Jamie Foxx, Carlos Santana, Brian McKinght, Wynton Marsalis, Babyface, and George Benson, just to name a few. His music innovatively crosses over all music boundaries from Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, to Pop, creating a very distinctive, fresh sound and approach that is uniquely his own. Eric Darius continues to be a force that is unequalled in today’s musical landscape.
*Fred Wesley's performance is only available as part of the 4-Day Gold Package.
The Family Stone
Original founding members, Rock & Roll Hall of fame inductees, and R&B Pioneer Award Winners Jerry Martini, Cynthia Robinson, and Greg Errico were the first inter-racial / inter-gender band in Rock & Roll history with the hits of Sly & The Family Stone. “Sly Stone’s lineup of musicians was very daring for those racially turbulent times: white musicians rarely played in black soul groups, yet Sly had not one, but two white guys in his band, Jerry on sax and Greg Errico on drums, two years before The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed, two years before Martin Luther King was killed, and five years before the US Supreme Court first addressed racial desegregation of schools through forced busing. These were times of high racial tension, and Sly was reportedly under pressure from the Black Panthers in the late 60s to sack his white musicians, but he admirably declined to discriminate, and Jerry and Greg remained in the band." Now, featuring the Powerful Voices of Alex Davis and Nadia on vocals bringing you the message of peace, love, and social consciousness through musical harmony with some of the funkiest players of all time. Players like Nate Wingfield on the Guitar and Musical Director Blaise Sison on bass.
The Family Stone continues giving you the musical experience that has brought them in front of over half a million people through Europe and the US; spreading the roots of funk that is The Family Stone.
*The Family Stone's performance is only available as part of the 4-Day Gold Package.
A smoothly expressive singer, an emotionally insightful songwriter and an exciting, innovative acoustic guitarist, Midón maintains an expansive musical vision that’s led People magazine to call him “an eclectic adventurist” and Huffington Post to dub him “a free man beyond category... he plays with such freedom and joy that his hands smile.” The New York Times described him as “a one-man band who turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus.” Billboard called him, simply and aptly, “a virtuoso.” Search for “Raul Midón” on YouTube and you’ll find a clip of him appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman in 2006. Performing “State of Mind,” the title track from his major-label debut, Midón unveils what would become his signature combination of silky tenor voice and percussive guitar style.
“I think that what people respond to with me is that there’s no trickery about what I’m doing,” Midón concludes. “I’m just singing and playing and trying to be as honest as I can be. For me, the best recordings capture moments of real life, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
*Raul Midon's performance is only available as part of the 4-Day Gold Package.
Eric studied at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. By the time he left Berklee, Eric had achieved the highest proficiency rating given by the school. In 1995, Eric was awarded the Berklee Distinguished Alumnus Award for outstanding achievements in contemporary music. He has since gone on to perform in over 75 different countries, recorded 13 solo CD's and has played on hundreds of records, films, television shows and commercial jingles.
Eric started his professional career in 1980 with famed New Orleans trumpeter Al Hirt. After returning to Los Angeles Eric became a member of the Chick Corea Elektric Band. He recorded 6 CD's with Chick Corea's band and received 2 of his 5 Grammy nominations. He's won one Grammy award as part of the GRP Super Live CD. Eric went on to perform with artists such as Elton John, Barbara Streisand, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach, Aaron Neville, Johnny Mathis, Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, George Duke, David Benoit, The Rippingtons, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, The Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band, Brian Culbertson, Patti Austin, Lou Rawls, David Lee Roth, The Yellowjackets, B.B. King, Ramsey Louis, Patti Labelle, Olivia Newton-John, and many others.
Among Eric's 13 solo CD's, his latest is entitled "It's Love", on Peak Records. Nine of the songs that Eric has recorded have made it to the top 10 of the National Contemporary Jazz Radio Charts and 3 have made it to #1. Eric was voted the year's "Favorite Alto Sax Players" in the Jazziz Magazine Reader's Poll along with David Sanborn and Phil Woods.
Every summer for the past 15 years Eric has put on an annual fundraising concert for High Hopes. High Hopes is a non-profit organization in Orange County, California that works with people who have suffered traumatic head injuries. With the help of many guest artists who have donated their time to perform, these concerts to date have raised well over $1,500,000 for this charity.
If you are a music buff from way, way, way back in the day, then you would definitely remember the Latin/R&B band Tierra from the 70's. You might even recall their biggest 1980's hit “Together” which reached #18 on the U.S. Pop charts and #9 on the R&B Chart. Passing great talent down to a new generation, the relatives of the members of the group Tierra is now a catchy name. DW3 is one of the most enthusiastic, smooth, new sounding bands in the Los Angeles area. Eric,
William, and Damon are the three harmonious voices that bring this high energy R&B Jazz and Latin Soul
band to life. DW3 is comprised of outstanding musicians which consist of keyboards, percussions, drums, bass, and guitar.
For the last 3 years, DW3 has had the pleasure of performing on
the Warren Hill, Wayman Tisdale, and Dave Koz Jazz Cruises. They performed on shows like City of Lights Jazz Fest, Newport Jazz Festival, Long Beach Jazz Fest, BB Kings, Vault 30, and recently on the Annual Taste of Soul Festival in Los Angeles just to name a few. Every year to show their appreciation, DW3 performs for our US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Asia, and throughout Canada. Currently the group just finished its third
album On the Floor produced by Two Time Grammy Award Winner Paul Brown and Marcus Miller.
DW3’s new album On the Floor released January 25th of 2012 with two chart topping singles “I Got You” featuring Gerald Albright and “On the Floor” for urban format. The album is available everywhere online and some stores in selected markets.
Chicago-based artist, and Los Angeles native, Marqueal Jordan is a rare musician who is blessed with the gift of being equally proficient as an instrumentalist and a vocalist. His distinctive saxophone tone and style, combined with his soulful vocals, places him in the tradition of legendary dual talents, Donny Hathaway and George Benson. Marqueal (pronounced Mar-KWELL) is intent on following in the footsteps of these giants on his debut solo CD, Catalyst.
Described by fellow saxophonist Mike Phillips as “one of the most versatile saxophonists in the game today” and affectionately referred to as “a singin’ fool” by Gerald Albright, Marqueal earned his reputation as an electrifying live performer after moving to Chicago in 1995.
He was the front man for the Chicago-based funk unit, Fat Time, and became an integral member in numerous Jazz and Blues bands in the city. In 2008, Brian Culbertson asked Marqueal to join his touring band, and since then he has captivated audiences around the world with his talent and magnetic stage presence.
As a sideman, he’s performed with an amazing list of major artists such as Oleta Adams, Albright, Patti Austin, Average White Band, Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Aretha Franklin, KRS-ONE, Larry Graham, Lalah Hathaway, Al Jarreau, Earl Klugh, Dave Koz, Jeff Lorber, Maysa, Najee, Ray Parker, Jr., Phil Perry, David Sanborn, Jill Scott, Sinbad, Gerald Veasley, and Kirk Whalum. Marqueal is featured on “You Send Me”, the lead single from Phil Perry’s latest CD, Say Yes; and Brian Culbertson’s CD/DVD, Live from the Inside.
Keyboardist Cecil Ramirez started as a music editor for PianoDisc, a company that records music that plays on high-tech player piano systems. While there he worked with many jazz artists on their projects, from a roster that included Steve Allen, Marian McPartland, Dick Hyman, Tom Grant, Freddie Ravel and David Benoit. Cecil also performed and recorded several best-selling compilation albums for PianoDisc. Upon assuming a new role in 1997 with PianoDisc's sister company, Mason & Hamlin, Cecil became more involved with pianos at the manufacturing level. His new position also brought him closer to working with artists, including a new major talent from Chicago named Brian Culbertson.
"I had bought and studied all of Brian's albums before I had ever met him in person; his sense of groove and phrasing was incredible," says Cecil. "After Brian came onboard as a PianoDisc/Mason & Hamlin artist, I really looked forward to meeting him but I never thought I'd be performing with him someday!" As the current national sales manager for Mason & Hamlin, Cecil has worked supporting Brian on several projects and tours, including the Live From the Inside DVD at Capitol Records Studio A, Brian's "piano2piano" tour with David Benoit, and Napa Valley Jazz Getaway.
Cecil is excited to be back at Napa Valley Jazz Getaway 2015 with his band. In 2013 and 2014, he has performed with several other major and independent jazz artists including Michael Lington, Vincent Ingala, Kim Waters, Steve Oliver, Jessy J, Elan Trotman, and Lin Rountree.
An avid wine and food enthusiast, Cecil had the honor of introducing Brian to fine Napa wine during a dinner in Chicago. As Brian recalls, "we went out to Maggiano's one night and he ordered a Silver Oak. I was hooked!" Cecil adds, "It was a great night, hanging with a great friend, a great pianist and composer, and a great musical mentor."
An international headliner, Alonzo has performed comedy worldwide including Just For Laughs in Montreal, Kilkenny Ireland Comedy fest, Sydney, Australia, Brighton Beach in the UK, and heʼs entertained the troops everywhere from Iraq to Greenland. His brand new one-hour comedy special, "Who's Paying Attention?" premiered on Showtime and he can be seen as a host of the new ITV show “Inside the Vault.”
Introduced to America on NBCʼs “Last Comic Standing,” Alonzo Bodden was runner up on Season 2 and came back to win it all on Last Comic Standing Season 3, “The Best of the Best.” Since then heʼs been a regular on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and a favorite guest on Adam Corollaʼs radio show and podcast. While his movie career has consisted mainly of playing security guards, heʼs protected the best: Steve Martin and Queen Latifah in “Bringing Down The House” and Leslie Nielsen in “Scary Movie 4.” Heʼs hosted “101 Cars You Must Drive” on Speed Channel and “Americaʼs Worst Driver” on The Travel Channel.
*Alonzo Bodden's performances are only available as part of the 4-Day Gold Package.
DJ's The World Famous Rick & Russ Show with CJ Flash
DJ Russ Gatewood
The name, Russell “Big Russ” Gatewood, has been synonymous with the Bay Area music scene for nearly 25 years. His career began when Hip Hop showed him that turntables could be a musical instrument. He spearheaded a local DJ collective and quickly became one of the more popular DJ’s in the region. As the 90s began, he (along with his long time business partner Rick Patrick) formed what has become an entertainment staple in the Northern California, The World Famous Rick & Russ Show. It wasn’t long before they were given the opportunity to live up to their moniker and began playing alongside major recording artists, performing at conventions and expos across the country. Their amazing ability to turn any and every event into celebration could be felt as far away as the U.K., Guam and South America.
DJ C.J. Flash
Chris “C.J. Flash” Jourdan is an extremely talented D.J., songwriter, producer, arranger and musician. He produces everything from Hip-Hop to Jazz and is considered one of the Bay Area’s original Hip-Hop pioneers. He has written for The Timex Social Club (Rumors), and produced for Raw Fusion (who later joined Digital Underground). In the 90’s, he teamed up with 2 of the hottest Bay Area D.J. Organizations - The Original D.J.’s & The World Famous Rick & Russ Show. He is a popular radio personality in the Bay Area on KBLX and also entertains on an internet radio program. C.J. continues to DJ (open) for musical notables such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Charlie Wilson, Robin Thicke, Trey Songz, Nicki Minaj and Jay-Z.
*artist lineup & schedule subject to change
Past Napa Valley Jazz Getaway Artists:
Ohio Players, Earl Klugh, Eric Benét, Morris Day & The Time, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Eric Darius, Mavis Staples, Average White Band, Jazz In Pink feat. Gail Jhonson, Karen Briggs & Althea Rene, Cecil Ramirez, Michael Lington, Eric Marienthal, Marqueal Jordan, Dirty Dozen Brass Band plus our DJ's The World Famous Rick & Russ Show feat. CJ Flash and special guest comedian, Keenen Ivory Wayans. SEE PHOTOS.
Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun, Larry Graham & Graham Central Station, Take 6, Ray Parker Jr., Eric Darius, Nick Colionne, Michael Lington, Cecil Ramirez, Selina Albright, DW3, Kim Waters, Paige Bryan plus special guest comedian, Sinbad. SEE PHOTOS.
Kenny Lattimore, Oleta Adams, Eric Darius, David Benoit, Eric Marienthal, Noel Gourdin, Cecil Ramirez and special guest comedian, Sinbad. SEE PHOTOS.