FreeWorldNetworkRadio-X – 07/30/2009

So far my favorite concert of the summer: Tuesday night i went to see and hear Tower Of Power put a hurtin’ on the stage at City Winery in NYC! City Winery (generic names are the trend right now…you know the deal.. no hype leaves something to be desired) is a very beautiful room themed of dark wood&iron sort of like a fancy wine cellar and has fine food and spirits I might add… it is a place you can bring the whole family and apparently is owned by Michael Dorf of Knitting Factory fame. I got home from the show around 1:30am and by 2:42am I still couldn’t settle down. I just wanted to pll out all the Tower Of Power CDs or vynyl I have and play it loud! Beside being in top form, Tower Of Power is in their 41st year and they played as if they were in their 2nd year of existence with something to prove. As many of you know, this band has nothing to prove to anyone… they’ve done that already by influencing a world of musicians and are part of a very special time for creation in popular American music -the late 1960’s and 1970’s. It was a crazy tight and funky set featuring founding members, leader- Emilio Castilio on tenor sax&vocals, Stephen “Doc” Kupka- Baritone sax&vocals, Francis “Rocco” Prestia-Bass, and David Garibaldi-Drums! The new singer -Larry Bragg has a clear and expressive tenor voice that cuts through all the syncopation of T.O.P.’s unique rhythm section with ease. He clearly has a voice of his own but really gets what T.O.P. is about. You can hear glimpses of the great and former lead vocalist Lenny Williams in him of course… I mean how could one not bring that to the table for anyone ready to digest Tower Of Power? I mean outside the horns and rhythm section, Lenny’s voice became just as much a signature of the band as the other components to the point where one might imagine him to be there while knowing he left the band after only a 2 and 1/2 year stint (1972-74)! A big impact Lenny made and obviously some big shoes to fill for anyone not to slight the rest of the band by NO MEANS… So I give much props to Larry Bragg, because he did his thing in a world where singers come a dime-a dozen. But that wasn’t it, former band member and lead tenor sax soloist – Lenny Pickett joined the posse for some cameo stage time and exceptional solos! Come on now, it just doesn’t get much better for a TOP fan after 40 years… Lenny Pickett blew his horn ’til it literally whistled elongated tones reminiscent of the late-great St. Clair Pinckney (The JB’s)- he was blazing! Then one of my favorite trumpeters appears as special guest sololist – Mr. James Zollar! Yo!!! Mr. Zollar (who I met while working with Atiba Wilson) was killin’! He soloed on “You’re Still A Young Man” beautifully and later (in the 2nd set which I was so fortunate and grateful to be around for – thanks Jared & Mr. Dorf) he and Lenny blew the audience away with killer solos on “What Is Hip”! Oh, btw, the fact that in the middle of their sets they performed a mini-tribute to James Brown didn’t help to calm things down – they flat out tore up “It’s A New Day” and “There It Is”!
All I can say is… it is almost 3am now and I still can’t settle down. It felt as though it was a new sound, yeah, just that fresh it was. Pure hotness! I guess you realize I’ve been funktified again… which isn’t hard for me to be since that’s what I’m pretty much about… so bare with me if I roll with some back-to-back funk in this show.
I deliberately do not play stuff back-to-back because it would stifle may various tastes and be just self gratifying ALL THE TIME. Even one’s own gratification can become boring to the gratified one. That being said, one day I’ll have to do a funk special and trust that T.O.P. will be somewhere at the top of the list along with other horn-based soul/funk and afro-caribbean funk bands like Mandril, The JB’s, The Beginning of the End, Fred Wesley & The Horny Horns, Maceo & The Macks, Kool & The Gang, The Brecker Bros (r.i.p. Michael Brecker), Earth, Wind&Fire, Blood Sweat&Tears, Parliament, the Ohio Players, Fishbone and others… but one thing I found… I still be diggin’ on James Brown…!

As a matter of fact and in keeping within the format of what I do: I have some new funk from the artist- Dayton Flic and something I just picked up after meeting a band I enjoyed in Philadelphia known as the Ross Brown Project, so that’s how we’ll start off this set. Enjoy. – Bruce

Time Song Artist Album
noon Just Enough and Too Much Tower of Power In The Slot
  Treat Me Like Your Man Tower of Power In The Slot
  Soul Vaccination Tower of Power Tower of Power
  Chocolate Chip Miles Davis Doo Bop
  You Got Me Floatin' P.M. Dawn Stone Free: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix
  I'm Mad Dayton Flic unreleased
  Funk Stick Ross Brown Project Frank Freed Fred: The Aliens Are Getting Angry
  South East Theme Ross Brown Project Frank Freed Fred: The Aliens Are Getting Angry
  Doninke Kandia Kouyate In Griot Time-String Music from Mali
  Yelele Claude Gomis Mandiago
  When I Think of One Kevin&Patrice Starting Now (EP)
  Casket IsWhat!? The Life We Chose
1pm Babes In Toyland Smitty Like A Child
  Bula Malaya Voyager Series Memories of Fiji
  Everything Radio Citizen Berlin Serengeti
  Go For Broke Bo Diddley Tales From the Funk Dimension
  Al Atal Cairo Orchestra Cafe Hookah: Exotic Flavours From The Orient
  The Road Black Pocket Beat Dimensions Vol.1
  Take Your Time Jeremy Ellis Lotus Blooms
  The Hunt Aceyalone A Book of Human Language
  You'll Find A Way Santigold Santigold
  Packed My Bags Chaka Khan Funk This
  Fly Othello feat. Ohmega Watts & Braille Alive at The Assembly Line
  Mandira Craig Harris Instanbul
  Musashi John Esposito The Blue People
  Evil Is Alive And Well Jacob Dylan Seeing Things
  Wild Flower Aaron Neville Wild Flower

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