Tower of Power fights for America's most dissed city
In one of her more glib and misunderstood moments, 20th-century writer, art patron and all-around modern renaissance woman Gertrude Stein famously described Oakland, Calif. by declaring, "There's no there there."
To that, this native son of Northern California and Oakland-based horn legends Tower of Power have this to say ... "Phblbllblbt."
Of course, Asking Stein — an American who lived in Paris and hung out with Picasso — to applaud common beauty is like asking Donald Trump to get all giddy over just one giant stack of $100 bills.
Oakland may have seemed ordinary to her, but for the last 40 years the Tower of Power has been defining the city through music.
Since the release of 1970's "East Bay Grease," (made under the watchful eye of legendary concert promoter Bill Graham) the band's brass-blown funk soul, accentuated with Latin and Island-influenced percussion has been to Oak Town what The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is to New Orleans.
Throughout the '70s songs like, "You're Still A Young Man," and "So Very Hard to Go," charted respectably on the Billboard Hot 100.
(Can anyone imagine a horn-led funk band competing with the Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga on the pop charts today?)
They have also earned the respect of their artistic peers, guesting on albums or stages with everyone from Elton John and Aerosmith to local icon Lyle Lovett.
More than 60 artists have played in Tower of Power over the years, but the sound that originated in Oakland has always remained at its core.
See this group during its 40th anniversary celebration and hear for yourself that there truly is a beautiful there ... there.
Tower of Power, 7:30 p.m. Friday at House Of Blues