The sound of Greg Adams is one of the world’s best-known musical signatures. For nearly four decades, from the time he first arrived on the San Francisco Bay Area music scene of the early ‘70s, Greg has been a driving force to define artistry that transcends musical genres
Greg has earned both Grammy and Emmy nominations and an International Broadcasting Award from The Hollywood Radio and Television Society. In sync with an ever evolving musical landscape and a life’s work that has included success as an arranger, composer, producer and performer, taking him on worldwide tours and contributing to some of the most important recordings in pop culture.
With his current project East Bay Soul, initially assembled with live dates in mind has just released the self-identifying CD produced by Adams that distinguishes them from others. Greg has made an urbane, soulful and lush recording showcasing the full strength of the rhythm and horn section through his arrangements. As a trumpet player, Adams alternates between a powerful open horn and sexy muted trumpet revealing the breadth and elegance he embodies.
East Bay Soul is a combination of instrumental soul, funk jazz and rhythm and blues vocals built on a design to discover new achievements rather than extend the past. “The songs just started coming” says Adams. “It began with “Survival Of The Hippest.” “I started composing in my head, I first came up with the bass line and then wrote the melody for the horns. There was no temporary pro-tool’s track. It was very organic from the start, and until the band played it live in the studio, it had never been heard before. It was decided to write a lyric, just based on the song title and that’s how we came up with the rap”
His 1995 solo debut Hidden Agenda stayed at #1 for five weeks. The ground breaking album received wide critical acclaim, fueled by the world sound of “Burma Road” and a smoldering remake of Sade’s ” Smooth Operator” established him as a major architect of the emerging smooth jazz sound and at the core of creating the genre of urban jazz. Followed up in 2002 with Midnight Morning and two more records in as many years with a string of top ten hits.
Adams is a founding member of Tower of Power. Legendary for the horn arrangements that created it’s resonance and signature sound making Tower of Power one of the most enduring musical entities today. Greg’s musical compositions made the TOP horn section a sought out entity all it’s own. Beginning early with his arrangement on Santana’s “ Everything Is Everything”, Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back” and Chaka Kahn’s “ Fool’s Paradise”. Greg has arranged, performed and recorded with countless artists as diverse as his career, including The Eurythmics, Rod Stewart, Heart, Lyle Lovett, Linda Ronstadt, Luther Vandross, Aaron Neville, Quincy Jones, Little Feat, Wilson Pickett, Huey Lewis and the News, Raphael Saadiq, The Brothers Johnson, Phish, B.B.King, Everclear, Chicago, Bonnie Raitt, Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, Peter Frampton, Billy Preston, Terrence Trent Darby, Josh Groban Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Celine Dion.
Greg has played on over five hundred recordings. You have heard Greg’s collaboration with Paul Shaffer on the opening theme of Late Show With David Letterman and on musical score arrangements in such films as Duets, Mask, Top Gun, Saving Silverman, Austin Powers In Goldmember with Smashmouth and Little Big League where he teams up with Stanley Clarke and on Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band with the illustrious Sir George Martin.
A deep commitment to music education and the art of contemporary music is realized through his continued involvement in music education in our public schools through seminars, clinics, performances and development of new artists. Greg strongly believes in music programs at all levels of education.
In an ongoing effort to benefit others, Greg always makes himself available. Greg realized the need to giving back at an early age. With his father, a missionary in the Salvation Army who served in China and Burma in the 1940’s and Vietnam in the 1960’s, he found himself as a young boy going to local farms in the fall at harvest time in Spokane, WA for donations of fruits and vegetables to feed those in need in the local area.
Recently quoted Adams says “Anyway I can benefit the lives of people who are ill or in need is very rewarding. And in the education department, I know the great value of mentoring. Music is a lot of fun, but it also has the great power to make a difference in peoples lives. It’s a privilege to part of events geared toward that”.
Having served three terms on the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles Chapter of The Recording Academy®- National Academy of Arts and Sciences. Greg participates in Grammy Camp, a national outreach program that provides insight to high school students about careers that are available in music and direction on how to prepare for them. He continues to participant and raises funds for EIF-The Foundations National Arts and Music Education Initiative to help reverse the declining public resources available to further the arts for children and young people.
Look for Greg and East Bay Soul on the road. “Performing live is what I enjoy the most, it’s those moments on stage when you connect with your audience that makes the whole day. The other twenty two hours of your time is just waiting to get there.”
Adams trust and confidence in what he has designed, is what makes East Bay Soul so exciting. “It took this much time for me to get here and to finally make this kind of record. I always knew it would happen."
The opening song “Survival of the Hippest” unfolds with the epitome of cool, it’s horn laden track swells with complete commitment before Tom Bowes delivers a rap that is almost biographical as the title implies.
Balancing the sultry and robust, the hopeful and the absolute. East Bay Soul excels on the west coast straight ahead “Bop Drop” that literally drops into “Reading Lips” jazz infused R&B soul drenched vocals of love in bloom.
Lee Thornburg emerges with his interpretation on Howard Tate’s 1960’s chestnut, “Stop”, and brings the “full funk” of the track to life. While Brian Allen’s bass anchors the subtle cush laid back groove on “What’s It Gonna Be?” Sean Holt surrenders a sexy romp on “Jump Shout and Holler” that is so playful and with Michael Paulo closing with a tenor sax solo that is sure to become a classic.
Drawing on the inspirations of our times and awareness of new ideas, “iHope” asks the question of promise and possibilities, a message delivered with tremendous style by Darryl Walker. Tom Bowes returns on “Someone New” a stirring closing to the disc about emotional distances we must overcome to keep love alive and questions “Am I losing you?”
East Bay Soul will remind you what you love about music, creating an all new "Metro Jazz", really a new approach of a melting pot of contemporary urban rhythm and a music combining all the sounds from the city. The ethnic sounds of the trials and tribulations, the hard fought, the victories, sweetness and sadness. It comes through in the music in all forms. It's world, it's metro, it's edgy, it’s urban.