You've heard of the Ohio Players. Brian Culbertson is the Chicago Player - a keyboardist, trombonist, writer, arranger, producer and the most exciting live performing instrumentalist on the scene today. The proof is all over his milestone tenth project, Bringing Back The Funk, a historic and completely unprecedented revisiting to the land of the sho' nuff uncut `70s-style funk of ages. The "historic" declaration is not hype - for the first time ever, legendary old school funk masters from nearly every signature soul band and region of the country have united under Brian and executive producer Maurice White (founder of Earth Wind & Fire) to once again lay the righteous and real stuff on a deeply needy world. Dig this list:
Maceo Parker & Fred Wesley (from James Brown's JB’s band), William "Bootsy" Collins and Phelps "Catfish" Collins plus members of the Rubber Band and the Horny Horns (all out of Parliament-Funkadelic), Larry Graham (of Sly & The Family Stone and his own Graham Central Station), Larry Dunn and Sheldon Reynolds (of Earth Wind & Fire), Greg Adams (from Tower of Power), Tony Maiden and Bobby Watson (of Rufus), Michael Bland, Cora Dunham and Rhonda Smith (from Prince's bands), solo stars Ray Parker Jr., David T. Walker, Ronnie Laws, Gerald Albright, Tom Scott, Paul Jackson Jr., Perri and many more L.A. session greats. Add neo soul stars Ledisi and Musiq Soulchild, and the vibe becomes clear: Ain't nothin' but a party, baby bobba!
"I've wanted to record an album like this for many years," Culbertson states with pride - "one where I could really cut loose." Consisting of six slammin' original compositions and four classic `70s jams, Bringing Back The Funk turned what would have been a "mission: impossible" for others into a mission most righteously accomplished – with everyone recording together live in the studio….the way they used to get down! Upon completion of the project, Maurice White himself declared, "This record is gonna touch the souls of people because it's musicians playing together and sharing a feeling."
As is so colorfully revealed on the CD cover, Brian has been immersing himself in studies of The Funk from a very young age (that's an `Earth-Wind' LP he's grooving to with headphones - for direct connection to the soul). So this record is a dream come true. And since one of Brian's band members – singer/guitarist Sheldon Reynolds - is a latter day member of EWF, he was able to work with several of that group's alumni, including Sonny Emory, Morris Pleasure and the legendary piano and synthesizer master Larry Dunn - a major influence on Brian.
"I've lived five minutes from Larry for 10 years now but I never met him," Brian shares. "Larry and Maurice had not worked together in years, so that first day in the studio was a reunion. Larry came to my studio and we wrote the song 'The Groove.' You can hear elements of both our writing styles in it. It was like an out of body experience for me... Actually, the whole making of this album was like that. Everybody in the studio was a legend, and fans of each other! And what’s really cool is that we’ve all become really good friends."