Tower Of Power ~ Soul Vaccination: Live
Recorded live in 1998 as Tower of Power celebrated its 30th anniversary, Soul Vaccination displays the band's strengths as well as its weaknesses. The strengths are many, starting with one of the finest horn sections in the business. After all their years together, the three saxes and two trumpets have achieved a blend that gives them the power of a much larger section, and yet they have a tightness that even a smaller horn section would be lucky to achieve. And with the recent return of original drummer David Garibaldi and with the continued presence of bassist Francis Rocco Prestia, the band benefits from one of the great funk/soul rhythm teams of all time. But much of the album lacks a sense of purpose. Rather than using the funky licks and syncopated grooves to bring out the meaning of the song itself - which is the true power behind the type of soul music to which Tower of Power aspires - songs such as "Soul With a Capital S," "Soul Vaccination," "You Got to Funkifize," "What Is Hip?," and "So I Got to Groove" are funk for the sake of funk. And as heartfelt as "Diggin' on James Brown" may be, it's the surface attitude without the inner essence of the Godfather of Soul. Much more successful are tracks such as "Down to the Night Club," where the music combines with the lyrics to create a sense of place, and the ballads "Willin' to Learn" and "You're Still a Young Man," in which the musicians serve the song's emotion.
REVIWER: Rick Mattingly, JAZZIZ Magazine Copyright © 2000, Milor Entertainment, Inc. -- From Jazziz