Music News & Reviews

Tower of Power still stands out

After 44 years in the business, Tower of Power has longevity, hits and — perhaps most of all — respect.

The funky R&B horn section and band has received props from a number of notable musicians the act has worked with through the years.

“There’s nothing like Tower of Power,” Huey Lewis said. “We worked with them and jammed with them, and they are just tremendous. It’s great that they’re still rolling on.”

A wide variety of recording artists who have needed a boost by the powerful horn section have worked with Tower of Power, including Lyle Lovett, Elton John, Phish and Poison.

“We’ve worked with many different types of performers,” tenor saxophonist/vocalist Emilio Castillo said. “It’s been quite an experience. We’re grateful to have had those opportunities. We’ve had some fun with other artists, but we’ve also enjoyed working on our own.”

Tower of Power, which will perform Saturday at Wichita’s Orpheum Theatre, has been on the map since the group charted with such hits as “You’re Still a Young Man,” “So Very Hard To Go” and “What Is Hip?”

But it all goes back to the summer of 1968 when Castillo met Stephen “Doc” Kupka, who impressed with his baritone sax.

The tandem has been the heart of the band since then.

“It’s been a good run for us,” Castillo said. “We’ve always enjoyed playing together in this band. But that’s evident or we wouldn’t still be together.”

Tower of Power is a special entity. There aren’t many horn sections out there that are as prominent.

“There aren’t many horn sections in the world, period,” Castillo said. “We could name then all right now, since there are so few of them. We are probably the most well-known. We stand out. There also aren’t a lot of horn sections that have been around as long as we have been around. It’s special with us since we have our own style.”

When Tower of Power hits the stage, the band is locked in. It’s evident that after all of the years playing together, band members can anticipate each other’s moves under the lights.

“It’s like we have some sort of telepathy,” Castillo said. “We know what we’ll do when we perform. It’s a wonderful thing. I fully appreciate all of this.”

Tower of Power is approaching its half-century mark.

“That’s a pretty incredible thing,” Castillo said. “All I know is that I just want to play for as long as I can. This is what I’ve done. It’s obvious that I love it.”