On January 12 of this year, bassist Marc van Wageningen was struck by an Amtrak train on his way to a Tower of Power performance at Yoshi's in Oakland's Jack London Square. (Marc has been subbing with the renowned funk band since 2002.) The accident was widely reported at the time by CNN and other media outlets. Thankfully, Marc continues to recuperate from critical injuries and is expected to play again.
Multi-instrumentalist and music producer Peter Michael Escovedo organized a benefit concert which took place 10 days after the accident, and also set up sessions at Oakland's 25th Street Recording for a studio album called Raise the Marc. Featuring a long list of top-tier musicians including Dave Koz, Sheila E., Ray Obiedo, Tony Lindsay, Peter Horvath, John Santos, and Pete Escovedo, among many others, the CD will be released July 14 on the producer's Peter Michael imprint. All proceeds will benefit Marc and his family, who have been facing substantial medical expenses.
Born in Amsterdam in 1958 and based in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than three decades, Marc van Wageningen is one of the most sought after bassists on the West Coast. In addition to his work with Tower of Power, he's toured and recorded with Steve Winwood, Pete Escovedo, Sheila E., Pee Wee Ellis, Maceo Parker, and many other artists. An ace studio musician called for a vast array of situations, he's played on network and cable television house bands (ABC's The One, The Wayne Brady Show, and VH1's But Can They Sing?). But Marc VW is best known for his ferocious grooves playing funk and Latin music, styles he honed with his late brother, drummer Paul van Wageningen, his rhythm section partner and co-leader in the VW Brothers (Muziek, Patois Records, 2010).
Peter Michael Escovedo hails from a prominent Bay Area musical family that includes his father, percussionist Pete Escovedo, as well as sister and famed vocalist Sheila E. Peter Michael has recorded and performed with a long list of stars including Mos Def, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Kenny G, and many others. The producer and the major driving force behind the Raise the Marc project, Escovedo also composed the tracks "Heaven," originally heard on a Sheila E. album but changed here from a funk vibe to a bossa nova, and the closer "Wherever You Go I'll Go."
Saxophonist Dave Koz was available for a mere hour and a half before needing to catch a plane, but in that time he contributed a slice of Oakland funk called "Marcandave," which he co-wrote on the spot with Escovedo, Ray Obiedo, Raymond McKinley, and Peter Horvath and recorded immediately afterwards.
"Oakland in Da House," originally from one of Sheila E.'s albums, captures her band onstage at Yoshi's and is the only song on Raise the Marc on which Marc VW plays.
Also included on the new CD: the ballad "Sorry," written and performed by former Tower of Power lead singer Larry Braggs (who was also the lead vocalist on the VW Brothers' Muziek album); two Ray Obiedo compositions, "Sweet November" and "Awaken"; and the percussion tour de force "Glory," featuring Jesus Diaz, John Santos, Jon Bendich, Juan Escovedo, and Peter Michael Escovedo.
"I am extremely grateful for all of these super-talented musicians and friends," says Marc van Wageningen. "How lucky am I to be part of such a wonderful community. A special thank you to Peter Michael Escovedo who not only produced the CD but also two benefit concerts and a music video. I hope everyone enjoys the music as I did."
The albums can be purchased: HERE