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Greg Adams playing trumpet

Paul L. Scott the Music and Program Director at WSJW agrees, “The song “Survival Of The Hippest,” is an upbeat fun tune that brings back the sounds of Greg Adams’ Tower of Power days. Greg’s band and horn section bring a contemporary vibe to the old soul gritty, hard core funk.”

Greg Adams also credits drummer Herman Matthews, whom he spotted and played with at a Tower of Power 40th anniversary, for bringing a hipper sound to East Bay Soul.  In addition to Matthews, the vocalists and Adams who plays both trumpet and the flugelhorn, the other members of East Bay Soul consist of; Adams’ longtime friend Johnnie Bamont (Sheryl Crow, Boz Scaggs, Huey Lewis) on saxophones and flute, Michael Paulo (Al Jarreau, Johnny Mathis, Patti Austin) on saxophones, bassist Brian Allen, percussionist Johnny Sandoval (Sister Sledge, The Miracles) and two more longtime friends of Greg Adams, keyboardist Joey Navarro (Marion Meadows, Sister Sledge, Denise Williams) and guitarist James Wirrick (Thelma Houston, Dannii Minogue).  Lee Thornburg (Supertramp, Tom Petty, Bonnie Raitt) also plays trumpet, flugelhorn and trombone.

“For the horn players in the audience when they hear “Always Take Two,” the place just goes crazy. We played in San Francisco at Yoshi’s and when we did that song, the people just rose to their feet.  The whole band was looking at each other like, Is this really happening? We are really blowing some minds here. We were doing something right that night.  We have been trying to get in there for a very long time, because San Francisco is my old stomping grounds and it is very difficult to get into this club.  They finally called us and we didn’t have a lot of time, but through grassroots and fans up there who love my work and also the East Bay Soul CD we really put the pedal to the metal and we got people to buy tickets. It was kind of funny, because there must have been thirty or forty alumni from my high school there as well. I haven’t seen that since 1970 and it was truly a moving night. It was a pretty magical night,” he says and you sense that he is reliving the experience. 

 East Bay Soul’s album captures the feel of a live concert and Greg Adams says that is part of the evolutionary process that he has gone through as a solo artist since he left Tower of Power and prior to East Bay Soul. In his words he started to “wean myself off of the machines,” the overdubs, drum machines, loops and so forth.

“That organic thing is the real deal. It is like the difference between vinyl and a CD. It has a grittiness and a humanity to it. The old school feel comes through on that. We didn’t slick it up too much. It is multi-layered and textured, but there were not a lot of takes. The precision is there, but if it feels good, don’t try to improve it, because you probably won’t get it any better,” he says. 

The response from radio has been fabulous with East Bay Soul’s music now entering the tenth straight month of continuous play on stations throughout America and the moodier, sensual song “Five To Eleven,” is now the single that is receiving the attention from music directors and radio show hosts.

These are pretty heady days for Greg Adams as plans are now underway for the First Annual Cocopah Southwest Jazz Festival, which will kickoff during the second weekend of April. Adams will act as the festival host at Yuma, Arizona and the intention is to bring a number of world class acts to the festival. Jerry Lane the General Manager for the Cocoaph Casino, Greg Adams and Andrea Adams are collaborating to stage the festival, which is set for April 15th to April 17th.

Like a fine wine Greg Adams’ music gets better the longer he is around. He will begin writing a new East Bay Soul album with a targeted release date in the early fall of 2011.


Interview by Joe Montague, all rights reserved, protected by copyright © August 12, 2010  Return to Our Front Page