Ever since I first heard Tower of Power, I was drawn to them. Their red-hot chops, superb vocals and up-tempo crossover jazz-funk makes toes tap and asses wiggle, even among those not prone to do either. Through decades, they’ve weathered myriad music industry changes by sticking to a discrete formula to which they seem to hold a patent: “bop ’til you drop.”
An evening with Tower of Power is a sweaty, groove-filled, horn-drenched, high-energy bump fest, delivered with the precision of brain surgery by some of the best in the business. TOP is an institution.
Regardless of who fronts them, the TOP horns and rhythm section blaze through old hits (and newer fare that would be hits if consumers weren’t content with the manufactured pop stylings of Mylie Cyrus, Lady Gaga and past participants of American Idol), seemingly with the ease of sitting in the shade, sipping a cool drink.
Two of my favorite drummers, Chester Thompson and David Garibaldi burn in this clip and in character, the TOP Horns melt faces (they never fail). Carlos Santana takes some hits in the comments section following this clip and although I’ve certainly seen him play with more feeling, his proficiency here is undeniable.
Regardless of what else I listen to, which changes as my tastes continue to evolve and my hearing dwindles, I never lose interest in Tower of Power. Their music continues to make me crank up the box and act the fool. This performance is from the Montreau Jazz Festival, circa 2006.