Dance to “Oakland Soul” pioneers Tower of Power in concert at UAB on Nov. 10

Together since the late 1960s, the band is a classic funk and soul beast, with a full horn section blazing away over a skintight rhythm section.

Tower streamHear classic funk and “Oakland soul” pioneers Tower of Power live in concert Friday, Nov. 10, presented by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center.

Together since the late 1960s, the band is a 10-headed monster of funk and soul, with a full horn section blazing away over a skintight rhythm section, according to their bio. Whether the band is performing classic hits like “What Is Hip?” “This Time It’s Real,” “Diggin’ on James Brown,” “Soul with a Capital ‘S’” or more recent material, their scorching hot live show keeps people on their feet all night long. But it is not just a “greatest hits” revue, even though audiences will hear all the band’s soulful classics. The band is constantly evolving even after 55 years.

The show is set for 8 p.m. in UAB’s Alys Stephens Center, Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets are $39, $49 and $59. For tickets, visit or call 205-975-2787.

A $199 VIP ticket package is also available and includes preferred seating, a Tower of Power bomber jacket, a collectible VIP laminate, Tower of Power pins and a commemorative VIP ticket.

22 7 20 ToP Red Rocks 24 806x568Tower of Power is led by musical director Emilio Castillo, who plays second tenor sax and provides background and lead vocals, and vocalist Mike Jerel. Castillo founded the group in 1968 with his brother Jack Castillo, baritone sax player Stephen “Doc” Kupka and bassist Francis “Rocco” Prestia.  

At the heart of this R&B beast sits drummer David Garibaldi. Garibaldi has been with the band for most of its five-decade career, and played with Natalie Cole, Boz Scaggs, the Yellowjackets and more. Garibaldi is an all-star percussionist; in 2016, Rolling Stone magazine named him to its list of 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time. Modern Drummer Reader’s Roll in 2007 named him Best Traditional R&B Drummer. 

Kupka is not only a founding member of Tower of Power but, along with Castillo, has written most of the band’s song catalog. Tom E. Politzer is lead tenor sax player, Roger Smith plays keyboard and covers background vocals, Adolfo Acosta plays second trumpet and flugelhorn parts, Jerry Cortez is on guitar and vocals, and Marc van Wageningen plays bass guitar.