You kinda knew it was coming. This "down & dirty," collaborative mega-funk tribute just had to be in the works at some point, considering Brian Culbertson’s fixation with funk of today’s and particularly yesterday’s variety. His oft-verbal accolades for Earth, Wind & Fire finally manifests itself in EWF founder Maurice White’s grabbing the executive producer anointment on this project. With a star-studded guest list that includes Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham, Larry Dunn, Sheldon Reynolds, Greg Adams, Gerald Albright, Tom Scott, Ray Parker Jr., Ledisi, and on and on and on, how could he possibly miss here? He doesn’t.
From the opening jam, the raunchy "Funkin’ Like My Fathers," ushered in with Bootsy’s trademark whimsical lip service, you just know that Bringing Back the Funk is going to be a party of major proportions. Knowing that the gang recorded this all live in the studio, just like it was done in the "old days," just makes one envious of the ambience and mental/emotional connections that had to take place. Can you feel the sweat?
Heavy synths, thick and bottomless bass lines, demanding drum thrusts, slicing and harmonically perfect horn arrangements, and personality. Culbertson had to be totally beside himself with euphoria. To say that there’s no need to seek out a chair in this dance-a-thon is an understatement. It’s hard to imagine how one sits out just one of these funky gems.
Each piece, while a distinct component of the whole, is quite capable of carrying the album by itself if one chose to simply jam out on one cut for a whole album. Combined with the other tunes, however, the production is a magnificent funkfest with unstoppable energy and momentum. It’s classic Culbertson with classic Bootsy ("Funkin’ Like My Fathers"), classic EWF ("Always Remember"), classic Larry Graham ("The House of Music"), among others, all striving for the ultimate groove.
This album truly speaks to Culbertson’s commitment to smooth jazzers by continuing to pump out quality of the highest levels. From his days as a very young and budding keyboardist with notable rhythm and potential to his rise to the iconic status he now enjoys in smooth jazz circles, this artist has remained true to his calling--and, boy, are we grateful! Bringing Back the Funk just keeps the love affair going full speed ahead for this virtuoso and the party he throws.