TOWER OF POWER @ Boulder Theater | 8/7/11
With 42 years of recording and touring experience behind them, Tower of Power has a new album, THE GREAT AMERICAN SOULBOOK which features covers of soul classics with guest singers Joss Stone, Sir Tom Jones, Huey Lewis, and Sam Moore.
The group still garners rave reviews, and leaves the audiences dancing in their seats in the arenas, theatres, and outdoor venues they play year 'round. Melding soul, jazz, funk, and rock in a way no group ever has, the ten-piece outfit is, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, “tighter than a clenched fist.”
Well known in the '70s for tunes such as “What is Hip?” and “You're Still a Young Man,” Tower of Power toured with Santana, Sly Stone and Credence Clearwater Revival, eventually creating traffic jams when they headlined their own shows. They performed on records with Elton John, Smokey Robinson, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, and Dionne Warwick, influencing a generation of musicians (including Sting, who has told Emilio Castillo, founder of the group, that he once had a “Tower of Power clone band” before he formed The Police). In the 1980s, they backed Huey Lewis and the News, Heart, Eurythmics, and Little Feat, just to name a few.
Tower of Power, after 40 years, is experiencing more popularity than ever before as they tour year 'round packing venues in the United States, the Pacific Rim, and all over Europe.
On June 6, 2004 The California Music Association honored Tower of Power with a Lifetime Achievement Award and cited their 2003 Sony Legacy anthology “Havin' Fun” as Soul/R&B album of the year, beating out releases by En Vogue and Raphael Saadiq.
As of August 19, 2009 the group's original trumpet player Mic Gillette returns to the band reuniting with original members David Garibaldi, Emilio Castillo, Doc Kupka, and Rocco Prestia. Says Emilio, "Having Mic back in the band brings back incredible memories. His ability to play screaming lead trumpet and then switch effortlessly to trombone is world class. What an amazing brass player he is. It's just incredible that after all these years the three original horn players are back together in Tower of Power."
The band's frontman Larry Braggs is also a powerful force. Emilio, who shares frontman duties, is in awe of his singer, "with his astounding range and irresistible energy, he has a soulfulness that knows no bounds, finessing a ballad with the best of them, and then turning right around to make it as funky as it gets. Larry's joyful spirit is undeniably contagious."
When asked to describe the band's music, the group members give a variety of responses. Says Emilio, “What Tower plays is Oakland soul music.” Former Tower saxophonist Lenny Pickett, current musical director for the Saturday Night Live band, says “TOP is the world's best rhythm and blues band.” In reality, TOP's horn-driven, in-your-face sound is all its own. Read more about Tower of Power at www.towerofpower.com.