Former Tower of Power mastermind Greg Adams has created a new project called East Bay Soul. Members of the band are Greg Adams (trumpet), Brian Allen (bass), Johnnie Bamont (sax and flute), Michael Paulo (sax), Joey Navarro (keyboards), Johnny Sandoval (percussion), Evan Stone (drums), Lee Thomburg (trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone) and James Wirrick (guitar). But don’t await an instrumental-only band. On the new album East Bay Soul are also a lot of vocals.
Nevertheless the band stands in the tradition of Tower of Power with a strong emphasis on the horns. East Bay Soul is entitled after the San Francisco East Bay Area. The group presents contemporary jazz with a big dose of R&B, just the right mixture to let you dance and groove.
The album starts with Survival Of The Hippest, a horn driven tune featuring Greg Adams on solo trumpet. Tom Bowes adds a short rap sequence which doesn’t change the brass laden character of the song.
Bop Drop is more or less a jazz interlude, a symbolic fig leaf for the jazz purists. Reading Lips features Tom Bowes, former lead singer of Tower of Power and today’s a member of the groups Funk Filharmonik. He puts his heart blood into melody and emotion.
Jump, Shout & Holler presents a further singer, Sean Holt. He recently appeared on Richard Smith’s L.A. Chillharmonic. His singing is very trenchant and unique. The cool is back on the mid-tempo What’s It Gonna Be?, Greg Adams and his muted trumpet.