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View other events for the week of 1/17/2010
Tone 7 in a benefit concert to raise awareness about hypertension and high blood pressure
Date Sunday January 17
Time 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location Details
La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley. 510-849-2568. http://lapena.org/event/1335
Event Type Fundraiser
Organizer/AuthorLa Peña News
Benefit Concert
Tone 7, songs from their debut album Tonality
Sunday January 17, 2010. $15 - 7:30pm
La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley. 510-849-2568. http://lapena.org/event/1335

Join Tone 7 and friends as they perform songs from their debut album "Tonality" for a one night only concert to raise awareness about hypertension, high blood pressure, and diabetes. To learn more about Tone 7 and their pop, jazz, blues, and rock/funk fusion infuenced music click here: http://reviews.theurbanmusicscene.com/2009/12/11/tone-7--tonality.aspx?ref=rss

Tone 7's new Recording Tonality

What do you get when you merge the talents of a singer/songwriter who is heavily influenced by Michael Jackson, a guitarist who has opened for Bob Marley and a blues guitar virtuoso? The end result is Tone 7, a band who bridges several musical decades while mixing elements of pop, jazz, blues and rock. Tony ‘The Tone’ Jackson, the lead vocalist of the five-piece group is no stranger to the entertainment industry. His acting credentials include an appearance on the late sixties/early seventies detective show, The Mod Squad. His claim to musical fame started with the obscure single from 1990 “My Mama Named Me Batman,” a song he wrote and co-produced for D-Rock & The Bayou Crew. These days The Tone, a man who wears several hats and is a long-time M.J. devotee, balances lead vocal duties between Tone 7 and Stereo Type, a multicultural quartet. Well-versed lead guitarist Neil Stallings has played with blues legends Big Mama Thornton, Albert Collins and B.B. King. Co-lead guitarist Bobby Cobb was actually approached by reggae giant Bob Marley to open for him on two occasions. These San Francisco-Bay area based band also includes keyboardist Will Hammond Jr., drummer Tommy Mason and bass guitarist Stephen Smith.

When not on stage, The Tone is a Professor of Psychology helping those with conflicting issues, and is involved in social activism. He knows all too well about troublesome circumstances growing up in a gang-infested neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles witnessing the constant battles between the Bloods and the Crips. But even though his childhood environment could have overtaken him as an adult, he chose to be a voice for the people when called for. Sometimes The Tone’s songwriting reflects the attitudes and events he has experienced in his life, including dealing with a dear friend’s murder.

It is no surprise that The Tone’s influences of the ‘King of Pop’ resonate in his lead vocals. The more you hear Tony Jackson’s voice throughout Tone 7’s debut disc - Tonality, there are shades of Michael Jackson’s expressive tenor. I also found many tracks on Tonality fairly refreshing because of the retro sound shaped by many urban artists back in the day, and M.J.’s pop/R&B imprint.

The danceable groove of “Chicago Streets” jump starts Tonality. Between the jazzy vocal harmonies on the chorus and a funky bass line that echoes “Good Time” by Chic, Bay area saxophonist Angelo Luster adds a bit of gospel jazz frosting with his solo.

The Tone struts his rap stuff with a soul/funk underpinning (think Kool & The Gang & Earth, Wind & Fire) on “Maybe I” if only for a brief moment: “You can take the diamond rings and material things I chalk it up as experience…you and me we should have seen the signs.”

“Fantasize” recalls some of the sweet mid-tempo jams from the Motown era, especially from smooth balladeers like Smokey Robinson.

With a perfect marriage of Michael Jackson soulful pop a la “Rock With You”and social commentary, “Ballet on the Gun” provides a list of what if’s about every day life’s scenarios: “What do you do when the vote don’t count…what do you do when the questions out, children asking what it is all about.”

Finally, “Revolutionary Eyes” meshes more topical subject matter with a heavy duty rock slant; a possibly perfect vehicle for Lenny Kravitz: “Some say it’s love some say it’s hate depending on their view.”

The only problem I found with Tonality is that The Tone, as talented as he is, might be trying to emulate M.J. on several tracks instead of developing his own vocal niche. This observation is not to be mistaken for the fact that Michael Jackson was undoubtedly a remarkable artist in his own right. But overall, Tone 7’s musicality and confident musicianship are the absolute reasons to check out Tonality.

Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene
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Added to the calendar on Thursday Jan 7th, 2010 2:18 PM

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