Over the course of two electrifying evenings in June 2018, Tower of Power returned to its hometown of Oakland, CA to celebrate half a century of music with family, friends, and a few thousand friends. On Friday, the legendary funk outfit announced 50 Years of Funk & Soul: Live at the Fox Theater – Oakland, CA June 2018, a live release encapsulating the band’s 50th-anniversary run.
The live album is due for a wide release on March 26th via Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group, but it will also be available for hi-res streaming and download exclusively on Qobuz a month early on February 26th. The full release will come in a variety of formats including a three-LP set, a two-CD/DVD combo, a standalone DVD, as well as digitally.
In honor of the legendary 50th-anniversary milestone, bandleader and saxophonist Emilio Castillo invited some ToP alumni to return to the stage and supplement the core 10-piece band. Former Tower of Power members who returned for the show included Lenny Pickett (musical director of the Saturday Night Live band); keyboardist Chester Thompson (Santana); guitarist Bruce Conte, and former vocalist Ray Greene who doubles on trombone.
They joined the renowned modern lineup of the band, featuring co-founder Stephen “Doc” Kupka on baritone sax, longtime drummer David Garibaldi, and lead vocalist Marcus Scott. Even in the midst of all this celebration, there is a tinge of melancholy with the presence of founding bassist Francis “Rocco” Prestia, who passed away in September 2020.
“People come up to me all the time and say, ‘Wow man, 50 years! We can’t believe it,’” Castillo said in a press release. “You can’t believe it? I’m the one that can’t believe it. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs and learned a lot along the way. We’ve affected a lot of people’s lives and done a lot of work that we’re very proud of. The band has a real family atmosphere. It’s been very rewarding.”
50 Years of Funk & Soul Live at the Fox Theater – Oakland, CA June 2018 by Tower of Power is available for pre-order on a variety of formats here. Stream the album a month earlier exclusively on Qobuz beginning on February 26th.