*During his lifetime, Chuck Brown was known as the godfather of go-go music, a fact not lost on Brian Culbertson, who worked with the North Carolina-born legend on the song “Feelin’ It.”
The collaboration with Brown, which appears on Culbertson’s 2010 album, “XII,” marked a personal and professional high point for the jazz musician. Nowadays, Culbertson joins a sea of fans that are still saddened by Brown’s tragic death last month.
“It’s surreal. I mean it’s hard to believe someone like that is gone, you know what I mean,” the instrumentalist told EURweb’s Lee Bailey. “I still have the image and the feeling everything is still here like he is still alive, but knowing you’ll never see that person again l mean it’s definitely sad. Very sad.”
Despite the sadness, Brown won’t be far from Culbertson’s mind as he plans to pay tribute to the go-go showman this weekend at his Napa Valley Jazz Getaway. The first annual event, which kicks off Thursday (June 7) and runs through Sunday (June 10), will feature performances from Culbertson as well as Oleta Adams, Eric Darius, David Benoit, Kenny Lattimore, Eric Marienthal and Noel Gourdin.
“Friday night, Sinbad will be our comedian and so we are gonna do a tribute to Chuck and perform that song, “Feelin’ It,” and we’re gonna put a little bit of, a little Chuck anthology in the middle of that song with a little “Bustin’ Loose” in there and whatnot,” Culbertson explained, adding that music won’t be the only thing fans can look forward to. “It’s basically a four-day event based around two nights of concerts. But it’s not only concerts. There’s wine tasting. There’s dinners. There’s a jam session. There’s Q&A sessions. So it’s really a whole experience.”
With tickets for the Getaway being sold out since February, Culbertson anticipates an impressive turn- out full of local and out of town music lovers. Couple that with Napa Valley being a prominent destination for those visiting California and it felt like a no-brainer for the entertainer to make it the location for his inaugural event.
“I wanted to do it up there because 1) I used to play up there at a winery for years because they had a jazz series. And all of a sudden, they stopped doing it. So there was no jazz going on in the entire Napa Valley,” said Culbertson. “And I just love the area. Obviously it has the best wines in the world, arguably. And the scenery is just unbelievable. So I just thought it would make a great setting for the festival. People from all over the world literally want to go there. I knew it was definitely a destination place. So let me give people another reason to make the trip.”
As the first Getaway officially becomes secure in the books, Culbertson has his sights set on the future. The plan, according to the entertainer, is simple as he looks to make the event bigger and better than what he has in store for those attending the Getaway this year.
“We’re gonna greatly expand it next year, break it outdoors on to a golf course,” revealed Culbertson. “It’s gonna be much wider and much bigger audience capacity. So we’re pretty excited.”
Jam with Brian and Chuck on the funky “Feelin It”: