Except for the real Tower of Power, this is probably the only band in the world that plays extensive repertoire of Tower of Power's Music because horn parts are virtually unavailable anywhere. The band was founded in September 2000 by renowned trumpeter, faculty member Wayne Naus, as an ensemble class at Berklee College of Music. The ensemble members were auditioned among the best musicians at Berklee. The ensemble has played at Berklee Encore Gala, Boston Grammy Award Reception, Boston Fleet Pavilion, and Berklee Performance Center.
Wayne Naus is the leader of Heart & Fire Latin jazz octet (with whom he recorded Chase the Fire) and Berklee faculty group Moksha. He is a touring member for the Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, and Lionel Hampton bands. He's performed with such artists as Arturo Sandoval, Gary Burton, Mike Gibbs, Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and Tony Bennett. He has had solo trumpet performances of the National Anthem for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park and is a U.S. Navy musician.
Naus has RCA recordings with Buddy Rich and Maynard Ferguson, numerous international television and concert performances, and is the author of Beyond Functional Harmony, published by Advance Music.
He graduated from Berklee in 1976 with a BA in music education, and is currently and associate professor in the Harmony Department. He formed Tower of Power Ensemble in 2000. For the past 15 years, he has taught for the Five-Week Summer Performance Program, the Tower of Power Ensemble, and advanced theory classes.
Little Joe Cook
Born in South Philly on December 29, 1922, Little Joe Cook was the only child of Annie Bell, a blues singer who sang on the carnival circuit with the likes of Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters. His fine voice and musical interest started at a young age, and by 12, he formed his first group along with his three cousins called the Evening Star Quartet.
The quartet toured throughout the South with the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Blind Boys, and the Soul Stirrers. Cook then turned his attention to managing a rock group, who would later become his band, the Thrillers. They appeared on American Bandstand with their hits, "Let's Do The Slop," and "Peanuts." The popularity of "Peanuts" continued over the years as the Four Seasons recorded a version of the song and it was used in Skippy Peanut Butter commercial.
After a move to Boston in the late 1960s, he landed a regular gig at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has been performing there for more than 25 years. The scene on the Cantab dance floor is reminiscent of American Bandstand 45 years ago, and the mostly college age crowd love the "Peanut Man." Cook also recently performed with Harvey Robbins's Royalty of Doo-Wop and Rock 'n' Roll show at Symphony Hall in Boston, and in a music poll conducted by the Boston Phoenix, Cook was voted the 2002 best local r&b performer.
See the full Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival schedule.