The Energy Of Tower Of Power Returns To Lowell Summer Music Series
The Lowell Summer Music Series is welcoming soul powerhouse Tower of Power back to the Series for a repeat appearance on August 22nd! I’ve seen them a number of times, including their last appearance at the Series which was rained indoors but which did not dampen their enthusiasm in the least.
“Tower of Power remains as vital and full of life-affirming funk and soul, if not more, as they were in 1968. The band’s dedication, hard work and connection to us long-time fans prove that a good idea is timeless” – NPR
“Oakland, California music legends Tower of Power – the most dynamic and distinctive band of survivors in Soul Music – is roaring into its unprecedented 50th anniversary with a dynamic new disc of all new material that finds them as energized and inspired as ever. A labor of love, definitively titled Soul Side of Town, this package is charged with 14 filler-free songs. In the spirit of their enduring theme song “Oakland Stroke,” the bookending intro and outro “East Bay” shine a light on elemental instrumental ingredients within the band’s signature sound. This astounding and historical release inaugurates Tower of Power’s fresh affiliation with Mack Avenue Records, a Detroit-based company renowned for its award-winning dedication to top-tier Jazz that is now extending its support to Soul and Funk giants, Tower of Power: a band so one-of-a-kind, it’s an institution.
“As always, the songs on Tower of Power’s Soul Side of Town were primarily composed by the hitmaking team of founding members Emilio Castillo (Detroit-born on 2nd tenor sax) and Stephen “Doc” Kupka (Los Angeles-born on baritone sax) who also hold down the world famous 5-man Tower of Power Horns. Along with the legendary rhythm section drums and bass lock of David Garibaldi and Francis Rocco Prestia, respectively, these decorated veterans have custom-crafted a hair-raising audio experience that longtime fans, music connoisseurs and a new generation of listeners will groove to for years to come.
“Along with veteran members Castillo, Kupka, Garibaldi, and Prestia, T.O.P. consists of guitarist Jerry Cortez, Hammond B3 organist/keyboardist Roger Smith, 1st tenor saxophonist Tom Politzer, and trumpeters Adolfo Acosta and Sal Cracchiolo. Soul Side of Town is also blessed with not one but two lead singers: outgoing Ray Greene (now in Santana) and incoming Marcus Scott (boldly introduced on several selections, including “Hanging with My Baby”). The 10-piece Tower of Power band is prepared to throw down with a celebratory tour that will include sweet spots around the globe.
“Since its formation in Oakland, California in 1968, Tower of Power has forged a reputation as a crack band of high achieving musicians fluent in all realms of Soul, Rock, and Pop music, with a sophistication and punch like that of a Jazz big band. From their first album East Bay Grease (1970) on Rock impresario Bill Graham’s San Francisco Records label (distributed by Atlantic), the interracial band became pillars and signatures of The Bay Area Music Scene that included pioneering like-minded bands such as Sly & The Family Stone, Cold Blood, Graham Central Station, The Pointer Sisters, and The Sons of Champlin, plus rock-oriented outfits such as Santana, Betty Davis, and Journey. Beginning with their sophomore release, Tower of Power came to prominence with a string of acclaimed albums on Warner Bros. Records: Bump City (1972), Tower of Power (1973), Back to Oakland (1974), Urban Renewal (1974), In the Slot (1975) and Live and in Living Color (1976). A move to Columbia Records resulted in three more major label releases and their last top-charting hit, “You Ought To Be Havin’ Fun.” Including all studio albums, live albums and rarities anthologies, T.O.P. has 24 previous releases in its burgeoning catalog.
“”Along with T.O.P.’s classic recordings, the five-piece Tower of Power Horns became much in demand for studio sessions and live gigs. Among the hundreds of artists they have blessed with their presence are Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Graham Central Station, Elton John, Little Feat, Billy Preston, John Lee Hooker, Coke Escovedo, Jose Feliciano, Al Kooper, Sammy Hagar, Rod Stewart, Peter Frampton, Santana, Smokey Robinson, Huey Lewis & The News, Toto, Paul Shaffer, Bonnie Raitt, Luther Vandross, Candy Dulfer, Aerosmith, Phish, John Hiatt, Neil Diamond, P.Diddy, Bill Wyman, Eiko Shuri… and TV’s The Simpsons (Sing The Blues).
“Most importantly, when almost all other R&B bands abandoned their horn sections as the sound of Soul music morphed into more stripped-down techno and synthesizer strains in the ’80s, Tower of Power near single-handedly carried the torch for full-on 10-piece bands, often even including a conguero/percussionist. Faithful fans flocked to their concerts and purchased their new albums that kept the real soul vibe alive for decades. Indeed, the horn section is so pivotal to Tower of Power that unlike most band stage setups that have horns in the back, T.O.P.’s renowned and respected horn section is right up-front with the lead singer.
“Now, with clever lyrics, funky arrangements, and tremendous musicality, Tower of Power step up their game with STEP UP, releasing March 20th, 2020. As the first single from the record, and the album’s title track, “Step Up” is an instant groove full of Tower of Power’s signature funky and rhythmical sound. The track’s empowering lyrics and motivational message cannot be ignored, and string together the song’s overall vibe for a feel-good track. “Step Up” provides a taste of the band’s promise of an album that will “move you physically and emotionally,” as predicted by bandleader and founder Emilio Castillo himself.”
Tickets for the Tower of Power show are priced at $49 in advance. There are also premium seats – beach chairs are provided by the Series – set in two rows directly in front of the stage for $149. Tickets for this show go on sale in late March through Lowell Summer Music Series, by calling 1-800-657-8774, or by visiting the Lowell Memorial Auditorium box office, open Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.. Children under 12 are always free courtesy of Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union – parents, this is a great way to introduce your kids to live music in a safe, family-friendly environment. Don’t forget their ear protection!
For those of you who are unaware of the Series, or if you are aware of it but have never attended a show there, it is an outdoor (weather permitting) concert series held on National Park Service grounds in Lowell, Massachusetts. The Series is not-for-profit, which helps keep the ticket prices reasonable. The Series is co-presented by the Lowell Festival Foundation and Lowell National Historical Park.
Surrounding Boarding House Park are old mill buildings, part of the Lowell National Historical Park, which you can tour if you arrive early enough. They provide an unusual setting for an evening of great music and ambiance.
The Series generally runs from mid-June to early September.
This Series is dear to my heart. I have been a season pass holder since 2007 and it is one of the highlights of the year (and of summer in particular) for me. Many lasting friendships have been made there. I expect this will be another excellent year!
I will post additional announcements for the Series as they are made.
So far, the lineup is:
July 11 (Saturday) – Joss Stone
July 18 (Saturday) – Leonid & Friends
August 22 (Saturday) – Tower of Power
September 4 (Friday) – Richard Thompson
September 5 (Saturday) – Rhiannon Giddens
Posted on February 18, 2020, in concert announcements, music, Uncategorized and tagged Boarding House Park, boston, concert announcement, Lowell, Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell Summer Music Series, music, soul music, Tower of Power. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.