Music Reviews
Tommy Bolin

Tommy Bolin

Teaser- 40th Anniversary Vinyl Edition Box Set

UDR Music

Tommy Bolin might not have the name recognition as other “guitar gods” of the 1970s, but it wasn’t because he didn’t have the chops. In his brief recording career, which ended with his death in 1976 at the age of 25, he created the Colorado band Zephyr, which went on to open for Led Zeppelin. At the age of 20 he formed the jazz-fusion band Energy, and after that, he replaced Domenic Troiano in the James Gang. Then he guested on several fusion albums, including Mind Transplant with Alphonse Mouzon, and Spectrum by Billy Cobham.

In 1975 Bolin started his first solo record, Teaser, as well as replacing Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple for the Come Taste The Band album. But Teaser is where Bolin’s unique mix of hard rock riffage and jazz chops shine, and never better than on this 40th anniversary box set. The original lp is now on 2 heavy-weight discs, and sounds superb. From the opening title cut, or “Flyin Fingers” Bolin simply shreds, and on the fusion-flavored “Lotus” or “Dreamer”, he dazzles with his impressive jazz vocabulary. It’s a shame we didn’t get to hear more from this wildly talented performer. Also included is a 2 cd set of live recordings from My Father’s Place and more.

In hindsight, his only real contemporary was Jeff Beck, who’s mixing of blues, rock and jazz was similar to Brolin’s. Ironically enough, it was after opening for Beck and Peter Frampton on December 3, 1976 that Brolin overdosed and died, at the age of 25. One wonders what heights he could have achieved with a little more time. But he left a body of work that continues to thrill, and Teaser might be the best. Rock on Tommy.

Recently on Ink 19...