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 for the 2015 Getaway with each show featuring special guests!
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.
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."
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.
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.”
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.
DJ's The World Famous Rick & Russ Show with CJ Flash
*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.
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.
Kenny Lattimore, Oleta Adams, Eric Darius, David Benoit, Eric Marienthal, Noel Gourdin, Cecil Ramirez and special guest comedian, Sinbad.