Music professor continues to play


Professor Glenn Appell plays trumpet with the group, “Soul Power.” (Courtesy DVC assoc. professor Michael Aczon)

 Glen Appell’s day job blends seamlessly with his night gigs.

The 55-year-old professor of jazz and popular music, who has taught at DVC since 1999, plays trumpet with two groups, the 10-piece brass ensemble, “Brazzissimo,” and most recently, the R&B group, “Soul Power.” 
More than 50 DVC students turned out March 31 for Soul Power’s debut, since Appell requires concert reviews as homework. 
“I gave them an extension if they wanted to come to my gig,” Appell said. 
Soul Power has since played for more than 220 people at Freight & Salvage, a venue in the Berkeley arts district, and recorded a demo. 
“The gig was very high energy, the crowd loved it and everyone was dancing,” said Lamar Owen, 21, a psychology major. “Their vocalist especially had super high energy, acting almost like an evangelical preacher on stage.”
“Soul Power” originated three years ago, after Ian Willson, creator and musical director, wrote out 16 of his favorite tunes by R&B group “Tower of Power.” But instead of writing for five horns, he wrote for four and incorporated a trombone. 
Willson began with Loren Linnard on keyboards, Scott Willson on bass, and Rick Bailey on drums. Appell joined on trumpet in September.  
By December, Wilson had Tommy Banks on vocals, Ralph Nelson on guitar, Robert Todd on baritone sax and Patrick Malabuyo on trombone. 
“I quickly decided to jump in the studio and record seven tunes to keep morale high, since we only had one gig on the calendar” Willson said. 
Appell began playing the trumpet in the 7th grade and later majored in music at City University of New York.  
His influences stem from big band jazz, soul and horn bands of the late 60s and 70s, as well as acts such as “Tower of Power” and “Earth Wind & Fire.”  
After college, Appell went on to tour with a number of groups, most notably the San Francisco Mime Troupe, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. He toured with the group throughout Europe, Cuba and even Nicaragua, playing in a four- to five-piece jazz band which accompanied their performances. 
Appell has also done recording for a number of documentaries which aired on PBS, including a film on Native American remains titled, “Who Owns the Past,” where he played the Native American flute. 
He also recorded for the documentary, “In Search of Truth,” which was nominated for an Academy Award.  
Appel finds that balancing his day job with night gigs works out well, as he doesn’t do too many gigs. 
“Most colleges encourage their professors to be involved in the arts they teach,” Appell said. “I receive plenty of support.”