Monthly Archives: November 2015

Tower of Power added to Admiral season

Tower of Power, who started off funkafizing the San Francisco East Bay area back in 1968 and became international hitmakers, will play at the Admiral Theatre on Jan. 26, the theater announced via their Facebook page.

The Tuesday evening show will start at 7 p.m., with casual-menu eats available after the doors open at 6. Tickets range from $75 on the main floor to $20 in the upper balcony.

With hits like “What Is Hip?” and “You’re Still a Young Man,” Tower of Power was one of the most influential of the bands that rose from the San Francisco scene in the late 1960s. Through more than 40 years and a number of personnel changes, the band has continued to tour heavily, including annual visits to the Pacific Northwest (they do an annual Thankband2_smsgiving-week residency at Jazz Alley in Seattle), where they’ve always been favorites.

The current incarnation of the band includes original members Emilio Castillo (tenor sax and vocals), Steve Kupka (baritone sax), Francis Rocco Prestia (bass) and David Garibaldi (drums). Roger Smith (keyboards), Tom E. Politzer (tenor sax), Adolpho Acosta (trumpet), Jerry Cortez (guitar), Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet) and Ray Greene (lead vocals) fill out the lineup.

Quoting the Admiral’s release:

“TOP toured with Sly Stone and Creedence Clearwater Revival, creating traffic jams when they started to headline their own shows. They performed on records with Neil Diamond, Smokey Robinson, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, and Dionne Warwick, and influenced 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 on world tours. They continued to play their own music in between Lewis’s gigs.

“Tower of Power is experiencing a renaissance, touring most of every year and packing venues in the United States, the Pacific Rim, and all over Europe with its audience of new and old fans. On June 6, 2004, The California Music Association inducted 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. When asked to describe the band’s music, former Tower saxophonist Lenny Pickett, now 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.”

I’ve seen TOP a number of times over the years (although never on this side of the Sound), and have never been disappointed. Looking forward to getting back to the fun(k).

Information: 36-373-6743, admiraltheatre.org

— MM