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J A Z Z      I N T E R V I E W
with Brian Culbertson
by Don Brown Sr.

Author's Note:    This telephone interview was conducted the morning of February 19, 2004. Brian Culbertson took a break from his busy schedule to talk to us. All of us at jazzInternet, Las Vegas Blues and Caught Live Too! would like to thank Brian for being so gracious as to take time from his busy schedule. We also wish to thank Arvella Kinkaid at Warner Brothers for setting up the interview.

Kenny Garrett

DB:    What event made you realize that you wanted to do this for a living?

BC:    It really wasn't a single event. When I got a D in Pre-calculus, I knew anything that required math was out. I must have been a sophomore or junior in high school when I realized music was it. After that, all my school work suffered.

DB:    Is your father your biggest musical influence?

BC:    Absolutely, my dad used to play music or records all the time so it became a part of my life early on.

DB:    How long did it take you to record your debut cd Long Night Out?

BC:    It took about three months from writing to recording Long Night Out in my apartment.

DB:    Can you compare your experience of recording your first cd to your latest, Come On Up?

BC:    We had to stop a lot because of outside noise like trucks or sirens. Now I don't have those problems but I basically record the music the same way.

DB:    Do you enjoy playing live as much as you do in the studio?

BC:    I really have a great live band and I've grown to love performing live.

DB:    How do you like touring with your dad?

BC:    We are having a great time touring together. My dad even works the line when I'm signing cd's. Recently we had a gig in Seattle. We took the red eye and had to wait around in O'Hare to catch a flight to New York, and the whole band were all hanging out having a great time together.

DB:    What is your favorite instrument to play?

BC:    That's easy. My favorite instrument to play is an acoustic grand piano.

DB:    Do you write most of your songs on the road or at home?

BC:    Actually, I have tried writing songs on the road but it didn't work for me. So I now do all my writing at home.

DB:    What cd's are you currently listening to?

BC:    I'm listening to Tietur. John Mayer says it's great.

DB:    Why did you choose to cover "Serpentine Fire" on your latest cd Come On Up?

BC:    I always loved Earth Wind & Fire and the 70's Soul and Funk music. Serpentine Fire is a favorite of mine.

DB:    Do you think Come On Up is your best cd so far?

BC:    I always say that my latest cd is my best. Come On Up was a great time to record and to play live.

DB:    You have played with many great musicians. Who else would you like to work with?

BC:    I'm doing that right now. I'm producing Maurice White's cd. He wants to make it very different from the stuff he did with Earth Wind & Fire. I have even wrote a few songs with him, it's been a wonderful experience. I would also like to work with David Sanborn. I've opened for him a couple of times and would love to play together. I'd also like to work with Sting.

DB:    I heard Maurice White was sick and that's why he doesn't tour with EW&F?

BC:    He's has Parkinsons, but in the studio he is working hard and doing very well. This cd will be a pop album, he wants to do something different.

DB:    Thanks so much for you time. I'll see you April 24th at the 11th Annual Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz Festival.

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