Title - 'XX'
Artist - Brian Culbertson
Instead of being on stage in Pittsburgh, one week into a planned 70+ date coast-to-coast concert tour set up to launch his milestone twentieth album release, the aptly titled XX (Roman numerals for twenty), R&B/jazz/funk multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson was at home, marking the occasion by hanging out with a glass of wine and entertaining fans via his popular Facebook Live broadcast!
While The XX Tour that was to start April 1st with shows booked through June had to be pushed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the new album’s retro-charged first single, 'Get Up!' (featuring Mr. Talkbox & Marcus Anderson) entered Billboard at #6, and soon after produced the hitmaker’s 33rd #1 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Charts.
1. 'Get Up!'
2. 'Dance Like This'
3. 'The Hangout'
4. 'Prelude To More Thank Thankful'
5. 'More Than Thankful'
6. 'It's A Love Thing'
7. 'Time Flies'
8. 'Sexy Love'
9. 'Keep Movin'
10. 'The Truth'
11. 'Intro To Looking Back'
12. 'Looking Back'
As aforementioned, Culbertson opens with the uptempo, slap bass, old school funky groove of 'Get Up!' and backs that up with the late-'70s dancefloor slide of 'Dance Like This' (featuring Bootsy Collins), the the near-seven minute mid-tempo, horn-fluent masterpiece 'The Hangout' (featuring Ray Parker Jr., albeit not in a vocal capacity), and then we get a quick, dulcet prelude moment before the free flowing R&B of 'More Thank Thankful' (featuring Avery*Sunshine aka Denise Nicole White) comes forth.
With Culbertson having written and produced XX, it's obvious listening to it that he has taken a fresh approach to his writing process, in that he has incorporated a little bit of everything from his expansive career to bring forth 12 tracks that enable your mind, body and soul to simply soar; no matter what may currently be weighing you down.
All those previously upbeat and ultra funky grooves get tempered for the luscious, streamlined piano melodies found within 'It's A Love Thing,' the finger-snappin' suppleness of 'Time Flies,' and then 'Sexy Love' (featuring guitar work from Maze’s Jubu Smith), with Everette Harp's saxophone attributes coming to the fore on the pop-jazz bounce of 'Keep Movin.'
This quite magnificent album then rounds out with the love song 'The Truth' (featuring the soulful R&B vocals of Noel Gourdin), with the short intro to 'Looking Back' then bleeding into the full track (featuring New Orleans native Patches Stewart on trumpet) closing the album.
"This album was about creating lots of different moods, which is a little different for me in terms of what I’ve done over the last several albums that were more conceptual and consistent from beginning to end - either the romantic side of things, a funk album, straight-ahead jazz trio or what not", Culbertson explains.
"I deliberately set out to have no one genre or one style in mind; just give people a total mix of everything that I do – funky instrumentals, jazz, R&B slow jams, gospel, pop, and straight-up funk”, he continues, adding that he hopes the collection will uplift listeners during this unprecedented time of social distancing and economic uncertainty.
“The fact that it’s coming out during this time when everyone is under stay at home orders, I hope it does lift people up. That’s what music does."
"That’s the beauty of music. It makes you feel better. It takes you out of whatever place you’re in at the moment. It transports you. That’s why I love making music."
Official Purchase Links