Even though Brian Culbertson might be categorized as jazz lite, his music has enough "oomph" to keep you interested. The talented composer, arranger, keyboardist, and trombonist displayed a talent beyond his years at an early age, and credits his dad with helping him develop an ear for the type of music he makes. His father, Jim Culbertson, a respected high-school jazz band director and trumpeter, cultivated a love of sanguine sounds in the young Brian, who eagerly listened to anything his dad put on the stereo. Their Decatur, Illinois, home would be alive with the recorded sounds of Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich, the Brecker Brothers, and David Sanborn. Growing up, Culbertson also listened to '70s R&B/pop/funk bands like Blood, Sweat & Tears, Tower of Power, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Culbertson began his musical training at the age of eight with piano lessons; at nine he moved to drums, at ten trombone, and at 12 bass. Bored with classical recital pieces, he began composing in junior high. By his freshman year in high school, he was experimenting with the then new Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer and an old four-track recorder in the basement of his parents' home. His dedication earned him six individual and five group Down Beat student awards.