Tower of Power’s lasting impact
(pictured above: Ray Greene leds the new Tower of Power.)
The Tower of Power tribute band Bump City East Band will perform Thursday, Jan. 9 in the Gail Brower Huggins Performance Center in Odell Memorial Building on the Greensboro College campus. The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.
Made up of Greensboro-area professional musicians, the band performs works originally composed by the legendary band Tower of Power. Bump City East includes beach music star Craig Woolard on lead vocals and Greensboro College Band Director Benjy Springs as trumpeter, vocalist and band leader. The other band members are Rusty Smith, Lanny Cox, Evan Thee, Scott Adair, Jim Schnefel, Jack King, Steve Ware and Norman Allred.
In related news, the original Tower of Power is still making music. Tower of Power’s musical odyssey began 45 years ago, when tenor saxophonist/vocalist Emilio Castillo met baritone sax player Stephen “Doc” Kupka in Oakland, Calif. All these years later, Emilio and “Doc” are still making musical history, touring the world, and bringing soul/funk music to the masses. On New Year’s Eve, Ray Greene will join Tower of Power as the newest member and lead vocalist.
“He’s an exciting soulful singer that was chosen by the band unanimously over all of the great singers that auditioned, and the whole band is totally excited to get started on a new era of Tower of Power with Ray Greene at the helm,” said Castillo.
At least 60 talented musicians have toured or recorded with the band in its 45 years and they have been featured with artists as diverse as Aerosmith, Elton John, Little Feat, Phish, Santana, Heart, and many others, forever infusing the radio airwaves with Tower’s musical DNA.
Tower of Power’s most recent release, Hipper Than Hip Live, captures the band at its commercial peak. It features key early tracks as “You’re Still a Young Man,” “Down to the Nightclub,” “So Very Hard to Go,” “Time Will Tell” and, of course, “What Is Hip?” with Lenny Williams on vocals.