Brian Culbertson has become a fixture at the Berks Jazz Fest he has delivered opening night pirotechniques the last several years and is penciled in for 2020 as it approaches its 30t anniversary. “Feels like a family reunion” said BC at the start of the set and 2 hours and a 17-number playlist later as the crowd demanded an encore, I see what’s going on, its Friday night in Reading”!
After 19 albums and 25 years in the music industry, Chicago native Culbertson’s Andy Warhol shock of white hair is in complete contrast to his team of Black Bottom band members from everywhere from New Orleans to North Carolina. Even his trombone is black!
Despite his flamboyant personality, Culbertson is no egomaniac. He finds time to showcase each of his amazing side men from New York’s Rasheed Odell on bass; Eddie Miller on vocals and Hammond B3 organ; Chris Mitchell on drums; Adrian Kirkfield on sax; New Orleans’ horn man Patches Stewart; and lead guitar player Darrell “Showcase” Taylor.
What makes Culbertson and his band the favorite of Berks is the sheer joy, energy and fun they play with once they hit the stage, which doesn’t stop until the last encore!
Rapping up the first Friday night was Jeffrey Osborne in the grand ballroom of the Hilton DoubleTree jazz fest headquarters in downtown Reading. For a 71 year old, Osborne proved he still had it as old friend s Patches Stewart and Elan Trotman sat in on his session that covered 4 decades of hits from the LTD days to his personal tribute to one of his greatest hits produced by George Duke “On The Wings of Love”.