Brian Culbertson - Come on Up - Brian Culbertson's too smooth

2006-03-29 18:21

Despite the colour-by-numbers "Pop Idol" styling of the cover artwork, this actually purports to be a jazz record. Witness the garish red sticker emblazoning the rhapsodic teaser in glossy yellow: "Brian Culbertson takes the funkalicious sounds you love and kicks this party into high gear...C'mon up to these 12 new fresh and groovin' tunes..."

Intrigued yet? Thankfully the pianist, keyboardist, shaker, drum programmer, synth bassist and yes, trombonist does enlist a host of big names including Marcus Miller (bass), Steve Cole (sax) and well, other lesser-known luminaries. Problem is that the rather seamless song selection doesn't really mean that any specific song or songs insist on repeated listening.

Make no mistake this stuff will inevitably get high rotation on smooth jazz radio stations around the country. Suffice to say that upbeat "funk" lite jams ("Say What?", "Serpentine Fire") alternate with downbeat moods ("Days Gone By", "Last Night") and middle of the road supper club grooves ("Playin'", "Funky B"). Come On Up may not be pop pulp, but it remains every bit as packaged as any Idols effort.
He may have the fresh-faced looks and flaxen-fringed flair of a teen-pop pin-up, but Brian Culbertson's Come on Up is no packaged pop fodder.

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