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1120-Brian Culbertson


Editor's note: The Herald & Review each day is listing a reason the Decatur region is loved. We're profiling people, places and history that are special to our region — and that make it a great place to live. See more here

One could say music is in the veins of Brian Culbertson – and certainly the DNA.

Culbertson, an award-winning rhythm and blues/jazz pianist and trombonist, is the son of Jim Culbertson, who taught music for four decades in the Decatur public schools system.

A Decatur native, Brian Culbertson showed a gift for musician as a youngster, learning piano by 8 and drums, trombone, bass and euphonium by 12. He started composing original music for his seventh grade piano recital.

He studied at DePaul University in Chicago and won the 2001 Smooth Jazz Award for best keyboardist, 2005 American Society of Young Musicians' All That Jazz Award and numerous Downbeat magazine student awards for performance and composition, among many others.

Over the years, he’s become known for his prolific body of work.

"It's not like a regular job where you work 9 to 5 and go home and spend time with the family,” he said in a 2004 interview with the Herald & Review. “That ain't happening. It's a 24-hour-a-day job. I'm thinking about music all the time. I'll be up at 2 in the morning working, then have to be back in the studio at 8 the next morning.”

He has released 16 studio and live albums, as well as created Brian Culbertson’s Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a showcase of top smooth jazz musicians presented each year in California.

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Digital Editor

Digital editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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