Tower Of Power is a veteran and highly acclaimed R&B/soul horn-driven band with a punchy, jazz-infused funk sound that became famous during the 1970s. Over the years, the band has provided horn section backing for such bands and artists as Aerosmith, Grateful Dead, Elton John, The Monkees, Otis Redding, Santana, Jefferson Starship, Cat Stevens, and Rod Stewart, among numerous others. Formed in 1968 in Oakland, California and first known as The Motowns, the original members consisted of Emilio Castillo (tenor saxophone, vocals), Stephen "Doc" Kupka (baritone saxophone), David Garibaldi (drums, percussion), Francis "Rocco" Prestia (bass), Willie Fulton (guitars, vocals), and first trumpet Mic Gillette (May 7, 1951 - January 17, 2016) who also played tenor and bass trombones, flugelhorn, and baritone horn and provided backing vocals. Other members who served for a time through the mid 1970s include Greg Adams (trumpet, flugelhorn, French horn, piano, percussion, vocals), Bruce Conte (guitar, vocals), Skip Mesquite (tenor saxophone, flute, vocals), Lenny Pickett (saxophones, clarinets, flutes, lyricon, vocals), and Chester D. Thompson (organ, electric and acoustic pianos, clavinet, bass pedals, vocals). In 1970, the band, by then known as Tower Of Power, released its debut album, "East Bay Grease," with lead vocals provided by Rufus Miller. Miller was the first of several lead singers that also included Rick Stevens (1970-1972) and Lenny Williams (1973-1974) who fronted Tower Of Power at the height of the band's commercial fame. Castillo, Conte, Fulton, and Mesquite also sang lead on occasion.
Tower Of Power debuted on both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts in 1972 with the soulful ballad, "You're Still A Young Man," the first of a string of Castillo/Kupka-penned hits and one of the band's best known songs. Other signature works include the romantic "So Very Hard To Go" (1973), which made the Top 20 on both charts and became the band's biggest hit, and the funk classics, "What Is Hip?" (1974) and "Don't Change Horses (In The Middle Of A Stream)" (1974). The band's hits, which continued through the late 1970s, also include "Down To The Nightclub" (1972), "This Time It's Real" (1973), "Time Will Tell" (1974), and "You Ought To Be Havin' Fun" (1976). With the exception of "Don't Change Horses (In The Middle Of A Stream)," which was co-written by Johnny "Guitar" Watson and Tower Of Power lead singer Lenny Williams, Castillo and Kupka were the main songwriters for most of the band's hits, with contributions from other band members such as Garibaldi who also served as a co-writer on "What Is Hip?" and "Down To The Nightclub."
Tower Of Power has continued to tour and record to the present day, with numerous personnel changes. The current lineup is a 10-part band consisting of original members Emilio Castillo, David Garibaldi, and Stephen Kupka, and newer members Adolfo Acosta (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jerry Cortez (guitar, vocals), Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet), Tom E. Politzer (tenor saxophone), Roger Smith (keyboards, vocals), Marc van Wageningen (bass), and lead singer Marcus Scott. The band's more recent recordings include "Soul Side Of Town" (2018), which became Tower Of Power's first-ever #1 album, topping both the Billboard Jazz Album and Contemporary Jazz Albums charts.
- For more info about Tower Of Power and the band's touring schedule, visit towerofpower.com.
- Rolling Stone remembers Tower Of Power trumpeter Mic Gillette.
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Tower of Power
- Don't Change Horses (In The Middle Of A Stream) 1974
- So Very Hard To Go 1973
- What Is Hip? 1974
- You're Still A Young Man 1972
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