Dave Koz and the Summer Horns played the Hollywood Bowl Sunday night, August 8th 2021 with a very special guest legendary funk/soul band Tower Of Power. Koz puts on an annual Smooth Summer Jazz show at the Hollywood Bowl and always brings the best of the best musicians.
The almighty T.O.P. hailing from Oakland, CA played the first half of the show (75 mins) which was their first performance of 2021 and second since the Covid-19 Pandemic began as they played a drive-in concert September 2020 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. This was also the group’s first Hollywood Bowl show since Playboy Jazz Festival in 2018. For 53 years T.O.P. has been one of the top funk/soul groups to see. The horns have recorded with artists such as Elton John, Aerosmith, and Santana. Over sixty musicians have either been a member or guest between recordings and live performance. Of T.O.P.'s original lineup co-founders Emilio Castillo and Stephen Doc Kupka remain as well as their drummer for fifty years on and off David Garibaldi. Last year T.O.P. lost their bassist Francis ‘Rocco’ Prestia, one of the greatest funk bassists of all time, a member since 1968.
T.O.P. played a twelve-song set full of hits starting with “I Like Your Style,” “Soul With a Capital ‘S,’” and “You Ought to Be Having Fun.” After playing “What is Hip?/Soul Power, “ the group came back for an encore of “You’re Still a Young Man.” On top of playing instruments nearly each member sings as well. When it comes to legendary horn sections to see this is definitely one of the finest.
The group consists of nine musicians most who have been members between 20-53 years:
Emilio Castillo (Sax) Doc Kupka, (Baritone Sax), David Garibaldi (Drums), Roger Smith (Keys), Adolfo Acosta (Trumpet), Tom E. Politzer (Tenor Sax), Jerry Cortez (Guitar), Sal Cracchiolo (Trumpet), newest member Marc Van Wageningen (Bass) and singer Ray Greene who also plays trombone and sings for Santana as well.
After a brief fifteen minute intermission it was time for Dave Koz and the Summer horns to hit the stage. Just like the bands would rotate on a revolving stage at Playboy Jazz Fest, the way Koz came out with the group was the same. The stage was still set with T.O.P.'s gear then rotated as live music was playing revealing Koz, Kirk Whalum, Mindi Abair and Vincent Igala. When Koz introduced each horn player he mentioned Abair was an original member of the Summer Horns, Whalum is his favorite living tenor sax player, and that it was Igala’s Bowl debut. Not only is Koz a nine-time Grammy nominee, Soul Train Award winner, Hollywood Walk of Fame inductee, a Sirius XM host, and was the bandleader for Emeril Lagasse’s talk show, he has his own jazz cruise The Dave Koz Cruise. Koz also happens to be an L.A. native (Encino) and is a UCLA graduate. When it's winter time Koz can be seen on his annual Christmas tour.
Right from the start the Summer Horns performed all together and later in the show were each featured one by one performing solo with the band. From the second they all took the stage it was a magical experience. Not only were the horns incredible but the band was just as great. The band consisted of John Stoddart (Piano), Randy Jacobs (Guitar), Nathaniel Kearny Jr. (Bass), and Marcus Finnie (Drums).
The opening number was “Always there,” which led into some of the horn’s favorite songs from groups with legendary horn sections. This included songs from groups that have played the Hollywood Bowl in recent years like the O’Jays, Kool & The Gang, and Chic. The medley was followed by “Got to Get You Into My Life” (Earth Wind and Fire). Koz brought out a guest vocalist Kenny Lattimore song “Pressure.” Koz calls him the greatest singer of today.
Two songs later a band member came out as another guest vocalist came out which was John Stoddart who is not only a great pianist but great singer as well. Stoddart sang lead vocals for Garth Brooks’ “The Dance.” Another great cover followed with Sly & The Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime.” The last song before the finale honored the great Stevie Wonder with Koz, Abair, Whalum, and Igala all coming out to the catwalk which is the divider between the garden box and pool circle which was once an actual pool fifty years ago. Another big highlight came during this part with Igala taking over the drums and Koz coming right next to him on sax.
For the grand finale. Tower Of Power’s horns and Green on trombone joined in making a total of ten horn players on stage. They all closed out the show together paying tribute to one of the greatest horn sections of all the Memphis Horns and Stax records. Igala also showed off his vocal skills on “Sweet Soul Music,” during the medley. With just two minutes remaining after Koz announced each band member, he said “I would like to ask you guys to be loud enough so they can hear us in Tarzana.” While performing “Land of 1000 Dances,” a giant sing-a-long during the “Nah Nah Nah Nah…” part happened.
Tower Of Power Setlist
1. I like Your Style
2. Soul with a Capital “S”
3. You Out to Be Having Fun
4. Only So Much Oil In the Ground
5. Can’t You See (You Doin’ Me Wrong)
7. Willing to Learn
9. Don't Change Horses (In the Middle of a Stream)
10. So Very Hard To Go
11. What Is Hip?/ Soul Power
12. You're Still A Young Man
Dave Koz and the Summer Horns Setlist
Horn Medley: Get Ready/Dance To The Music/Celebration/Good Times/Love Train/ Ain't No Stoppin Us Now (Temptations, Sly & The Family Stone, Kool & The Gang, Chic, McFadden & Whitehead)
Got to Get You Into My Life- Earth Wind and Fire Version
Pressure Kenny Lattimore Vocals
Side by Side
Don’t Get Me Wrong- Pretenders
The Dance with John Stoddart lead vocals- Garth Brooks
Hot Fun in the Summertime- Sly & The Family Stone
What is is/C2C
Ascension/Blow 4U- Kirk Whalum
Flirt/Lucy’s- Mindi Abair
You Haven’t Done Nothing & medley with Kenny Lattimore- Stevie Wonder
Stax Tribute including Knock On Wood/ Hold On I’m Coming/ Soul Man/Soul Finger/ Blues Brothers Intro/ Sweet Soul Music’/ Land of 1000 Dances (Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave, Arthur Conley, Bar-Kays, Blues Brothers Band, Wilson Pickett)