Mic Gillette was and is a legend. There's no debating that among his many fans worldwide. Mic passed away on January 17, 2016 but leaves behind one of the most expansive bodies of work of any trumpet player out there, along with an even longer list of friends who will cherish his memory.
Best known for being one of the original members of the Tower of Power horn section, Mic Gillette continually proved himself as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. For the first time in his career, he ventured into the solo arena with Ear Candy, an album that includes 5 original songs, with a little help from some of his extraordinarily talented friends.
Born and raised in northern California's Bay Area, Mic first picked up a trumpet at the age of 4. By the end of his freshman year of college, the Tower of Power had cut their first album, East Bay Grease. During his tenure with the Tower, the band toured with big name acts, such as Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elton John, Rod Stewart, and the Rolling Stones. Mic also toured and recorded with Cold Blood.
Mic appeared on hundreds of recordings, and has accumulated over a dozen Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Record Awards. He arranged horns and played on Santana's Grammy-winning Supernatural CD. Gillette performed as a member of the Sons of Champlin, often referred to as "musicians' musicians," fronted by Chicago vocalist/keyboardist Bill Champlin; Strokeland Superband; Funky Loophole (Mic's own band); Tortilla Soup; and toured and recorded with The Doobie Brothers and Santana in the last few years of his life.
Ear Candy, as the name suggests, brings an assortment of flavors and textures to this uniquely diverse collection of tunes. "Funky Good Time," penned by the "Godfather of Soul," James Brown, is woven throughout the album between songs, a tribute to Gillette's funk influences and background. Fulfilling a long-time dream to reassemble the original Tower of Power horn section, he brought Emilio Castillo, Stephen "Doc" Kupka, Greg Adams, and Skip Mesquite, along with ToP bassist Rocco Prestia, into the studio to record the Etta James classic, "Tell Mama."
From the tender ballad, "I Like That," to the Latin-flavored instrumental, "Abaco," to "It Had Better Be Tonight," a high-energy cover of the Pink Panther movie original, featuring a screaming horn section and an exceptional drum/percussion dual solo by David Garibaldi (Tower of Power) and Karl Perazzo (Santana), this CD will take you on a musical journey you won't soon forget!
The CD also features David Garibaldi and Rocco Prestia, along with multiple Grammy winner Bill Champlin (Chicago, Sons of Champlin). Marc Russo (Doobie Brothers, Yellowjackets, Tower of Power) also makes a guest appearance, as does Lenny Williams.
"Ear Candy" was co-produced by Mic Gillette and Steve Finch, Director of Operations for Strokeland Records.
A CD Release concert was held on October 6, 2005 in Roanoke, Virginia and featured Mic Gillette, Bill Champlin, Larry Braggs, Stephen "Doc" Kupka, Josh Shilling, and Roanoke's own Jane L. Powell. Those in attendance will long remember that night of great music.
Mic Gillette remains one of the most unique and powerful horn players of our time. You will be glad you checked out this CD from a legendary artist.
As Mic always said, "Brass Kicks Ass!"