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Brian Culbertson

It's On Tonight

There is a well-known and anticipated moment during every Brian Culbertson concert when the keyboardist discreetly asks the members of his band to turn their backs to the crowd. The leader then bows his head at the electric piano and plays a seductive theme. He offers the audience this intimate moment to kindle romance, hoping to send them home in a state of blissful anticipation with the thought, “Baby, it's on tonight.”

Culbertson has turned that fleeting concert highlight into a 12-song seduction suite that marks his eighth album and GRP Records debut, It's On Tonight .

Culbertson has turned that fleeting concert highlight into a 12-song seduction suite that marks his eighth album and GRP Records debut, It's On Tonight . Dripping in sensuality, the album consists of all-original material, including three vocal pieces: the flirtatious title track (f/ Will Downing ), the spirited “Love Will Never Let You Down” (f/ Patti Austin ) and the bold “Wear it Out” (f/ Marc Nelson , lyricist of three numbers on the CD and a member of Babyface's protégé vocal group, Az Yet ). Culbertson also hand-picked three of smooth jazz's most sensitive horn players to lend their singular auras to the vibe at hand: saxophonists Boney James and Kirk Whalum , and trumpeter Chris Botti . As always, Culbertson produced the album, collaborating on seven of the songs with his frequent creative partner Stephen Lu .

“I like conceptual albums,” Culbertson begins. “My last album, Come On Up , was primarily an up-tempo party record. But I've always done one or two slow jams on my albums and everyone seems to be taken by those songs. They'll tell me, ‘My wife and I (fill in the blank) to that song.' So I decided to do a whole album about just that - grooves designed to accompany every stage of romance. It's the reason most people buy instrumental music, really - to chill out, relax and do what they need to do.”

That the man who - at 20 - wrote and recorded his very first album in the bedroom of his Chicago apartment would get around to crafting an album like this is as natural as lovers in a lip-lock. “Let me break it down for you,” the keyboardist suavely begins. “The album opens with ‘Let's Get Started' (f/ vocalist Ledisi), a song that feels like you're getting ready to go out on the town. Then on ‘Hooking Up' (the CD's first single), the vibe mellows out a bit as you attempt to connect with that special someone. And by the third song, ‘It's On Tonight. ‘If you come home with me, baby it's on tonight.'” The rest of Culbertson's latest " with subtle variations in tempo " remains in this mode with the mood-setting “Sensuality,” “The Way You Feel,” “Touch Me,” “Euphoria” (bonus track) and the solo piano afterglow of “Reflections.”

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Another Long Night Out

Zebra Records
2014

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Dreams

Zebra Records
2012

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XII

Skylight Music
2010

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Bringing Back The Funk

Zebra Records
2008

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Soulful Christmas

GRP Records
2006

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It's On Tonight

Zebra Records
2005

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