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Ray Greene, Lead Singer, Tower of Power

Tower of Power Highlights 2014

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Tower of Power Highlights continued to appear in every direction, as the band toured at a break-neck pace in 2014. The biggest concert endeavor was the Journey – Steve Miller Band – Tower of Power Summer Concerts. Camaraderie and great music permeated the mood in arena venues across the country.

Summer-Tour-2014

Change

In 2013, Larry Braggs announced that he would be leaving Tower of Power for a solo career and year’s end. Larry’s tenure with the band was the longest of any lead singer in its history. With that in mind, the band auditioned singers over several months, finally choosing Ray Greene.

It didn’t take long for Ray to make his mark as lead singer. And, as a bonus, he plays some serious trombone, often putting it to use on several songs at most shows.

Ray also provided some good luck to the San Francisco Giants, performing the National Anthem prior to Game 4 of the NLCS.

Milestones

Bassist, Rocco Prestia, has been off-the-road for quite awhile, awaiting a kidney transplant. Thankfully, on December 5th, he received a kidney, and is now on-the-mend. A number of musicians ably held down the bass chair. Particular props to Ray McKinley who put in the heaviest schedule on Rocco’s behalf.

TOP Fans can look forward to Rocco rejoining the band as soon as he is able. No doubt he is champing at the bit.

rocco-fb-header

Alumni News

TWO Tower of Power Alumni launched successful Kickstarter Campaigns to fund their latest CD’s.

In DecemberMic Gillette released Turning Two by the Mic Gillette Band. Both Turning Two and the band’s first CD, Moon Doggy, are available on the MGB website.

mic-gillette-band

The Mic Gillette Band

 

Simultaneously, Greg Adams revisited Kickstarter to help underwrite East Bay Soul 3.0. The band also includes Tower Alumni, Lee Thornburg and Herman Matthews. Take a look at the newly minted East Bay Soul website. Expect the CD release in the spring.

East Bay Soul Band Members

East Bay Soul Band Members

A third alumnus, Al Chez (late of the David Letterman Show, after 17 years) and The Brothers of Funk Big Band have a CD release party set for January 10th at The Stanhope House, Stanhope, NJ. 

Tickets for the Release Party on Ticket Fly.

Al Chez and Brothers of Funk

May your New Year be filled with good health, prosperity, and soul

Andy Ebon
CEO of Soul

T.O.P. Queens and Larry Braggs

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Larry Braggs

Larry Braggs and TOP Queens

Tower of Power has more than a legacy of Urban Soul Music, it has also been the launching pad for solo careers of many of its alumni. Through Larry Braggs extensive time as the band’s lead vocalist, he has had the opportunity to meet, record, and perform with a wide variety of musicians.

Larry Braggs

As the first year of solo work draws to a close, he has an interesting collaboration with the T.O.P. Queens, an all-female Tower of Power tribute band, performing at La Trastienda Club on October 24th in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There are Tower of Power tribute bands, worldwide, but this is a first!

laTrastiendaClub

 

 

 

For more details, or to buy tickets, visit:

Andy Ebon
CEO of Soul

Ray Greene lights up Tower of Power

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Tower of Power Table Tent - JB's Nightclub - Summer 1973

Tower of Power Table Tent – JB’s Nightclub – Summer 1973

When I first saw Tower of Power in concert, it was 1973, in Las Vegas. So Very Hard To Go was in heavy rotation on radio and the band lineup featured a most memorable roster. It also presented its third lead singer in three albums. That was Lenny Williams.

The performance included tracks from its upcoming Back To Oakland album, including Squib Cakes, Don’t Change Horses, and others. There was one surprise for me. Unexpectedly, Lenny Williams picked up a trumpet and joined the horn section on Squib Cakes. Speaking with David Garibaldi, after last night’s show, I recounted that moment. He assured me my recall was correct.

Ray Greene – Double Threat

Ray Greene - Tower of Power Lead Vocalist and Trumboinst

Ray Greene – Tower of Power Lead Vocalist and Trumboinst

Last night’s show at the South Point Casino was my first opportunity to see and hear Tower’s new lead vocalist, Ray Greene.

The bonus: Ray also plays some major league trombone. He had trombone in hand on a handful of tunes, adding even more strength to the horns.

Ask Ray, and he will tell you he’s a musician first… and, yes…. he can sing a little.

The South Point Casino Set List

I don’t chronicle song-by-song set lists, but I did notice this. With the exception of Diggin’ on James Brown and the Star Time Medley, the set list was gleaned from five releases: Bump City, Tower of Power, Back To Oakland, Urban Renewaland Ain’t Nothin’ Stoppin’ Us Now.

A major challenge for front Tower of Power is having the range and endurance to match the wide assortment who have preceded you. Ray Greene has those skills, a warm stage presence, and the confidence to interpret the songs with his own style, not just replicating its original vocal treatment.

As a result, what was a dominant throw-back set list, came across as timeless and fresh. For me, the take on Don’t Change Horses took me back to a period with Ellis Hall on lead vocals, at a time when Richard Elliot was lead tenor.

What’s on the agenda tonight?

It’s always interesting during a 3-night stint. The sets often vary. Like most fans, I have my favorites, but I’m simply curious to hear Ray’s interpretation of other songs.

The band felt relaxed and percolated at full-tilt. The show was rock solid.

Rocco News from Emilio

Emilio reported that Rocco called him, Friday, with GOOD NEWS. Last week, a donor for a new liver had been confirmed. Rocco has passed all the necessary pre-testing required, and it is expected that a transplant will take place about six weeks from now. Stay tuned for more specifics on the surgery date.

Andy Ebon
CEO of Soul

Jesse McGuire kicks off football playoff with smoking’ National Anthem

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Dr. Jesse McGuire

Dr. Jesse McGuire

Dr. Jesse McGuire played trumpet with Tower of Power for about five years. His resume reads like a Who’s Who of soul, gospel, and rhythm and blues.

On a personal note: I admit to frequently hitting the mute button for pre-game performances of the National Anthem, because it is a hard song to do, and is seldom done well. No mute button, today.

Jesse is always at-home with the anthem, and today was a supreme rendition. Don’t take my word for it. If you missed it, visit Deadspin.com for the post/video.

The National Anthem Should Be Played With Instruments More Often

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Tower of Power Fan Site Counts Down to 50 Years Read all about it