Old School feel and fat horns I like a good horn band and this is one of them. Cool vocal sound. Keep and eye on Reunion.
Frank John Colli Entertainer.
If you’ve wondered about Tower of Power please visit their website
For over 40 years, Tower of Power has been creating their own kind of soul music. Since 1968, Tower of Power has delivered their unique brand of music to their fans, appearing before sold out crowds as they tour the world each year. Tower’s sound can be hard to categorize, but the band’s leader and founding member, Emilio Castillo, has labeled their sound as “Urban Soul Music.”
BUMP CITY “brings it” to the stage in a big, powerful brassy way, as only a true horn band can. Together for years, working as a R&B, soul & funk cover band under the name REUNION, band leaders Billy Sims and Matt Martinez decided to give the tribute band concept a whirl.
From their signature namesake, to What Is Hip, Still A Young Man, Don’t Change Horses and So Very Hard To Go, BUMP CITY covers all of the best known hits from the band that came out of the San Francisco Bay Area in the heady days of the early 1970’s. Along with all the rock bands, of that era, a couple of brass bands emerged. Tower is the standard bearer, but was followed closely by LYDIA PENSE & COLD BLOOD. In her honor, BUMP CITY performs a couple of Cold Blood best known tunes.
Bump City’s rhythm section lays down a groove just like Tower. The band’s horn section mimics the unique sound, and they approach everything, from writing and arranging to mixing and performing, that is totally Tower’s. Combine all of that with with two outstanding lead vocalist and you have one of the most dynamic group to ever hit the stage.
Please visit Tower Of Power’s website, they are an inspiration to us all.
BIG HORN BAND LOOKING FOR BIG LOVE IN STOCKTON
By Tony Sauro
November 05, 2009
Record Staff Writer
Billy Sims remembers a time when horn bands made a really big noise in Stockton. Matt Martinez recalls his group opening a Stockton Civic Auditorium show for Van Morrison.There were plenty of places with enough space for them to play their R&B- and funk-fueled music. Now, the veteran San Joaquin County-born musicians are making what “I call my last stand, man. I figured this was it,” said Sims, who plays saxophone. That would be ReUnion, a nine-piece R&B/funk band built around fiery horn play that’s had difficulty findingsuitable spots to perform in Stockton. They’ll squeeze into Lozano’s Pacific Avenue Grill on Friday and Saturday nights for their first Stockton appearances in three years. “It’s been very difficult,” said Sims, a 57-year-old Stockton native whose ReUnion band started playing at Fats Bar & Grill in 2005. “We’ll play sort of semi-unplugged. We’ll take whatever we’re given. Our sound has improved, and we really hope we can finally build a following in Stockton.” “We hope there’ll be more venues that will support all kinds of music. When we were growing up in the ’60s, bands were playing all over Stockton.” Sims quickly recalled the R&B, funk and soul names (Ninth Creation, the Apollos, Grand Prixs, Tangiers, ‘Frisco Bay, Pacific Crossing, Cartel) and places (Boyce’s Billiards, the Encore, Stockton Inn, Venta, the Keystone and the Chili Pepper, among them). “We played once at Fats,” said Martinez, 56, a Tracy native and trumpeter who was a member of Fat City when his teenage band opened for Morrison in 1971. “We’ve stayed away from Stockton. We’ve tried to find venues. There aren’t a lot of really great venues. “We think Stockton’s a really nice place. We love the downtown. It just needs a few more things going.” When Pacific Avenue’s Empire Theatre – where Sims and Martinez watched movies as kids – was mentioned, they said they’d check it out. So far, they’ve done most of their shows in Monterey (Sly McFly’s) and by networking at corporate gigs (“I hand out a lot of cards,” Sims said with a laugh). Sims, an Edison High School graduate (a “jock/band nerd”), and Martinez, a Franklin grad who now lives in Valley Springs, both learned to master their instruments while in school.Though they were in “rival” bands as teenagers, they’ve rounded the circle now with a common interest in modern technology. “We’re out-of-the-box visionaries,” said Sims, who worked for 25 years at PacBell/SBC and now is employed by Sunesys. Martinez “handles 67 accounts” for AT&T in Sacramento. Martinez “handles 67 accounts” for AT&T in Sacramento. With an assist from Mic Gillette, a Tower of Power regular who’s worked and recorded with ReUnion, their big thing now is Las Vegas-based horndrivenradio.com. “I never in my life imagined this,” said Sims, who grew up in the era of AM radio, vinyl albums and reel-to-reel recording tape. “The technology is amazing. You can do it yourself through the Internet pretty easily now. It’s great.” A quarterback and a baseball infielder at Edison who started by playing clarinet, Sims attended San Joaquin Delta College, California State University, Hayward and the University of San Francisco before settling on music. Married for 28 years (Denise) with a son and daughter (19 and 27), he played for 25 years with Highway 61, Sound Factory, Too Smooth and the Marvin Zeller Band. Martinez’s parents “watched a lot of big-band stuff,” he said. “Al Hirt, Louis Armstrong and Herb Alpert, too. When I was probably 4 or 5 years old, they said I mimicked the trumpet in front of the TV.” Fat City, emphasizing the Tower of Power-Cold Blood groove, followed. He did two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Marine sergeant in 1972-74. After being “out of music” for 20 years, a friend (Greg Barker) encouraged Martinez to start playing again at Lodi’s Bethel Open Bible Church in 1999. We’d play (the Eagles’) ‘Hotel California’ – and you know what that’s about – and the pastor would give a 15- minute sermon based on that song.” A father of four sons and a daughter who’s been married for 25 years (Betsy), he reconnected with Sims five years ago. An uncle of Sims’ – trombonist Sonny Graven – played with Lionel Hampton for 30 years (Quincy Jones was in the same horn section) and his late father, Edward “Trapper” Sims, played saxophone.Four of Graven’s unrecorded tunes and several written by band member Dan Maas, a Modesto trumpet player, and Martinez’s 20-year-old daughter (Elizabeth), will be part of a debut CD (“Soul Funk for You”) that will include Gillette (“We’re his protege,” Martinez said) and be released in early 2010.ReUnion’s take on Tower ofPower’s “Willin’ to Learn” now is being played on horndrivenradio.com while a version of “You Got Me Hummin’ ” (Sam & Dave, Cold Blood) can be heard on its Web site (soulfunk4u.com). ReUnion means a lot to Sims. In addition to Sims, Martinez and Maas, the band members all are interconnected with each other from former groups: Modesto’s Paul Walker (baritone sax), the husband-wife team of Manteca singer Christine Acosta and bassist Bobby Acosta – they once played with Stockton’s Earl “Good Rockin’ ” Brown and the Mo’ Better Blues Band – and Stockton drummer Rick Mano, singer-guitarist Tico Padayhag and his son Eric, who plays keyboards and sings. Lodi’s Steve Mason (Latin Magic) also sits in on keyboards. “That’s what I was thinking of,” Sims said. “Putting people together who really appreciate each other’s company. We’ve kept the music going. It’s always somethinggood to fall back on. “It sure has been a lifetime hobby. It’s always been with me and will be with me as long as I’m on this earth.”
Contact Tony Sauro at (209) 546-8267 or firstname.lastname@example.org.