Cecil Ramirez & Brian Culbertson Open Napa Valley Jazz Getaway 2015 With a Memorable Welcome Dinner
June 10 - Playing to a sellout crowd at the Westin Verasa Hotel in Napa, CA, Cecil Ramirez & his band opened Napa Valley Jazz Getaway 2015 with a memorable Welcome Dinner show that featured guest artists Brian Culbertson, sax men Eric Darius & Vincent Ingala, and singer/guitarist Raul Midon. After the traditional NVJG opening toast with Brian & Cecil, dinner was served. Feasting on a sumptous family-style dinner of New French cuisine catered by Michelin-star chef Ken Frank of the Westin's La Toque restaurant, jazz fans enjoyed the food and fine wine while Cecil & the band played an opening set of popular jazz covers. Feeling the serious grooves, Eric and Vincent made surprise appearances joining Cecil onstage to the delight of the crowd, who were just getting ready to party.
With his new album "Party In The Back" releasing the same day as the Welcome Dinner, Cecil opened the party set playing songs from the new album with Bill Stevens on guitar, Walter Williams on drums, Brian Turner on bass, and Eric Darius, who did a stellar job covering the album sax parts recorded by Michael Lington, Darren Rahn, & Phil Denny. With dinner finished and wine flowing, the crowd got into the music and out of their seats, dancing in between the tables and enjoying a beautiful Napa evening.
For the show's final set, a jam session with the artists, Brian joined Cecil to play their arrangement of the Michael Jackson hit "Remember The Time". The crowd began to leave their tables and gather in front of the band while Eric Darius joined the group during the song. Vincent Ingala also joing the group to play "Higher Ground" and the jam session was in full swing. A sea of cell phones were raised high above the audience as the group tore through BC's high-energy live arrangement of "Get It On". Raul Midon joined the jam session and Vincent Ingala joined Bill on guitars to play an extended version of "Pick Up The Pieces", featuring amazing vocal solos by Raul to bring the show to an exciting finish.
New single from Cecil Ramirez: "Remember The Time" featuring Brian Culbertson released
April 10 - The first single from Cecil's upcoming album "Party In The Back" has been released. The high-energy single "Remember The Time" is Cecil's cover of the Michael Jackson hit and features long-time friend and music mentor Brian Culbertson on synth, trading solos with Cecil's piano. The arrangement is anchored by Cecil's keyboard and synth bass parts, funky guitar parts by veteran LA guitarist, Adam Hawley, and a rock solid beat set by Sacramento drummer Walter Williams.
Cecil recalls, "We first played "Remember The Time" at last year's Welcome Dinner for Napa Valley Jazz Getaway. Afterwards, so many people came up and asked me if the song was going to be my new album. So I added the tune. Late last year, I asked Brian if he would play on "Remember The Time" and he was totally onboard. We worked out the arrangement for the song and, earlier this year, Brian invited me to come down to his studio in LA to record my final piano parts, put in his synth solos and mix the song with his audio engineer, Bob Horn. BC and I both have the same Mason & Hamlin pianos in our studios, so I really felt at home recording at his place and we finished the song in one session. It was an amazing session, the energy was positive, intense and awesome, and the song came out great."
When asked about his relationship with Brian Culbertson, Cecil says "Brian has been a great friend and music mentor, and we go back quite a few years. I was already a big fan of his music before we met, so you can imagine how cool it is to play onstage and record with someone who's music you've studied and played for a long time. BC is a big influence on my playing and writing, and I love working with him on all the projects we do. We also share a passion for great wine... but that's another story."