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Saturday, July 21, 2012

CULBERTSON AND SANBORN HEAT UP THE NIGHT AT THORNTON


David Sanborn (left) and Brian Culbertson
put on an amazing show last Sunday
at Thornton Winery. Photo by Nancy Wilson

Culbertson and Sanborn Show off Their Artistry at Thornton Winery
It was nearly 100 degrees in Temecula last Sunday and the crowd outside Thornton Winery was getting impatient.  They were waiting to enter the venue to see the concert billed as The Dream Tour featuring David Sanborn and Brian Culbertson.  The acts sound check and rehearsal had run late and the sun-baked crowd outside (the line had wound its way through the parking lot) was chomping at the bit to get inside, take its collective seats, buy some wine and get down to the business of enjoying the concert
It was well worth the wait.
Brian Culbertson and David Sanborn performed a sizzling show.  Sanborn, the brilliant alto saxophonist whom I have been following for years was spectacular.  Blending traditional jazz, R&B and stylized pop, Sanborn was the epitome of cool; dressed in all black and working hard, he didn’t break a sweat as he ran through his hits such as Chicago Song, Anything You Want, and the infectious Bang, Bang.  At 66, David Sanborn looks and sounds better than ever.
On the other hand, this was my first time seeing Brian Culbertson, and I was very impressed.  The multi-talented Illinois native is a brilliant keyboardist and a fantastic showman.  He showed his brilliance on songs such as Camel Island and On my Mind (the later song he played the keyboard backwards with his back to the crowd).  In addition to his talent on the keyboards, Culbertson also plays a mean trombone (and instrument you don’t often see as a featured player). 
Both Sanborn and Culbertson showed their artistry during the two and one-half hour concert.  While they had fun with tunes like Bang, Bang, they showed they had the chops to play any type of number, like the gorgeous Dreams.  The concert was paced beautifully with ballads like On My Mind mixed in with uptempo numbers like It’s On Tonight.  By the time they performed a hot cover of Earth, Wind And Fire’s Serpentine Fire, the crowd was on its feet and dancing in the aisles.
It was an amazing performance by a couple of amazing artists.  These two play off each other well, and one does not overshadow the other.  While the weather was hot, the show was hotter.
By the way, despite the late start, the staff at Thornton handled everything beautifully.  As always, a great night at TW