Innovative performer/composer Brian Culbertson is making good on his promise to expand a new jazz festival the multi-instrumentalist launched here last year.
Noting that the long-standing Robert Mondavi Summer Music Festival had shifted its focus from jazz to current pop artists, Culbertson put together an extended jazz festival at several area venues last June, tying his brand of music as well to local food and wine experiences.
The popular recording artist revealed the second annual Napa Valley Jazz Getaway has been scheduled from June 5-9, with this year’s festival adding more events and star power.
In addition to keyboardist/trombonist Culbertson, artists on the bill include Norman Brown, smooth jazz guitarist, saxophonist/songwriter Kirk Whalum and smooth jazz trumpeter Rick Braun — who’ll all team up as a combo they call BWB.
Also slated to appear are Grammy-winning vocal jazz group Take 6, exciting young saxophonists Eric Darius and Michael Lington, guitarists Nick Colionne and Ray Parker Jr., seminal funk band Larry Graham & Graham Central Station and party band DW3. Returning to serve as festival emcee is comedian Sinbad.
“In addition to two nights at the Napa Valley Opera House, we are adding another two nights of music at the gorgeous Lincoln Theater on the historic grounds of the Veterans Home of California, Yountville,” the festival headliner said in the invitation to this year’s festival on his website. “Add a golf tournament (at Silverado Resort), an outdoor welcome party with DW3 and celebrity chef Cindy Pawlcyn, a wine reception and silent auction benefiting The Grammy Foundation ... and we’re all in for an amazing few days in wine country.
“For those of you who attended our first getaway this past June, I can’t wait to reconnect and share another glass with you during one of the late night hangs,” Culbertson added. “And for those that are coming for the first time, I think you’re in for a real treat, as this event is truly a mix of my passion for music and wine ... and what better place to make this happen but in the magical Napa Valley.”
Culbertson expects more than 1,000 jazz fans to show up over the five day festival, some attending most events, others just coming to catch one or two concerts.
“I had a feeling we were onto something when we created this one-of-a- kind getaway and the enthusiastic response (last year) from the fans far exceeded even our own expectations,” the smooth jazz stylist declared.
An artist with 13 recordings and numerous worldwide tours to his credit, Culbertson has become one of the most popular jazzmen on the contemporary scene. His latest CD, “Dreams,” was released last summer and was supported by a tour with co-headliner and sax legend David Sanborn.