The Sound Cafe
Brent Carter & Friends Have Work To Do
Brent Carter is among the most criminally unsung singers of soul - a man who has been the lead singer for both R&B super bands Tower of Power and the Average White Band, he sang the Maurice White vocal parts for Maurice Hines’ short-lived Earth Wind & Fire on Broadway musical, “Hot Feet.” From the time he was a child – Brent has worked in national traveling theatre shows, sung radio commercial jingles and was a featured background singer for Regina Belle and BeBe & CeCe Winans. Now, the New York native is embarking upon his first foray into recording/performing as a solo artist.
So what to do when you are locked down, road habits and creative instincts denied? You make a record for fun with your friends, that's what you do, right?.
And that's exactly what Brent Carter did. And when you have an address book like Brent’s, the 'fun project' takes on a life of its own, to become something of a 'moment in time' record, featuring some of the most respected musicians and singers around.
Aided by his good friend and fellow bandmate, sax player Fred 'Freddy V' Vigdor, Brent has assembled an all-star line up of front line artists and legendary side men from the world of funk, soul and groove music to breath new life into the classic (and aptly named!), Isley Brothers song, 'Work To Do'.
Brent explains 'It all started when I had an idea to make a fun 'homemade' video of the Tower Of Power’s hit 'What Is Hip' featuring a bunch of the former ToP singers from over the decades. I asked ToP band leader, Emilio Castillo if he would like to be a part of the project. I told him the singers that were already involved. He was excited about it and introduced the video. The video was really well received, and that led to us following it up with this 'Work To Do' project, again just for fun, but it quickly took on a life of its own. We ended up with a dozen great singers, including the great Will Downing, and a 19 piece band, including eight drummers’.
And when Brent mentions drummers, these aren't just any drummers, these are musicians recognized as being amongst the very best in the business; people like Steve Ferrone (AWB, Clapton, Tom Petty), Tower of Power’s legendary David Garibaldi, and Snarky Puppy's Larnell Lewis, to name but three. (A full list of those involved is relayed below, together with just a few names from their impressive resumés).
As Brent continues to explain 'everyone was so into the idea, that they suggested getting other people involved and the thing just grew and grew. Being in lockdown, everyone dialed in their parts...some people used state of the art home studios, others just used their smart phones, but everyone got into the spirit of the thing. We mixed it all together and, given the circumstances, we made something we're all pretty proud of'
And rightly so, this is something of an historic record, given not just the current times in which it was made, but also given the 'no ego, no roadblock' spirit and co-operation between the elite community of musicians concerned. And not least, of course, because of the quality of the record itself!
As the song says, there's Work To Do!
A full list of participants:-
Brent Carter - Tower of Power, currently AWB lead vocalist
Will Downing - Multi-million selling, major label recording artist.
Jo Harman - Award winning British vocalist-songwriter
Eliot Lewis - Hall and Oates, “Live From Daryl’s House”, AWB
Audrey Wheeler - Top NYC session singer (Freddie Jackson, Madonna), formerly featured singer with Unlimited Touch
Cheryl 'Pepsii' Riley - Noted Gospel/R&B singer and Arista and Columbia recording artist
Porter Carroll - Singer/songwriter/founder/drummer with multi million selling band 'Atlantic Starr'
Travis Milner - Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/producer/composer Gerald Levert, Roy Ayers, Gerald Alston, Busta Rhymes
Ms. Monet - Recording artist, backing vocalist Will Downing, Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald
Michael Angelo - New York legendary Funk vocalist
Chris Walker - Vocalist with Billboard Top 30 hit ,'Take Time', Musical Director to Al Jarreau, Regina Belle
Klyde Jones - Hall and Oates, AWB
David Spinozza (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, James Taylor)
Jeff Tamelier (Tower of Power, Starship)
Roger Smith (Tower of Power, Dave Matthews Band) - Hammond Organ
Rob Aires (John Schofield, Mary J Blige) - Electric Piano
Travis Milner (Roy Ayers, Gerald Levert) - Keyboards
Chris Walker (Bob James, Kirk Whalum)
Fred 'Freddy V' Vigdor (AWB, Michael McDonald) - Tenor Sax
Cliff Lyons (AWB, Manhattan Transfer) - Alto Sax
Barry Danelian (Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Billy Joel) - Trumpet
Ozzie Melendez (Mariah Carey, Diana Ross, Marc Anthony, Jenifer Lopez) - Trombone
John Scarpulla (ToP, Diana Ross, Paul McCartney) - Tenor and Baritone sax
David Garibaldi (Tower of Power)
Steve Ferrone (AWB, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty)
Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy)
Brian Dunne (Hall and Oates, AWB)
Rocky Bryant (AWB, Dave Sanborn, Cindy Lauper)
Herman Matthews (Isley Brothers, Kenny Loggins)
Graham Hawthorne (Paul Simon, David Byrne, Madeleine Peyroux)
Poogie Bell (David Bowie, Chaka Khan, Randy Crawford)