November 14, 2012

Review: Tommy Bolin-The Definitive Teaser Collector's Deluxe Edition (5 CDs)

Tommy Bolin’s star will always shine brightly regarding rock guitar icons. Now I am talking about those that made their mark in a very short period of time such as the one and only Jimi Hendrix. Yes in the end they died without reason, squandering their existence, leaving us all to wonder what could have been.

I had the absolute pleasure of covering a great release from 429 Records titled Great Gypsy Soul (Deluxe 2 CD Collector Ed.) back in April. I was once again blown away by the artistry and pure virtuosity of this tragic figure Tommy Bolin. When I saw this set, The Definitive Teaser Collector’s Deluxe Edition which included 5 CDs and another copy of the previously mentioned release, well I just had to get a review copy so I could hear more of the unreleased material this guitar god recorded prior to his untimely demise.

This may be the ultimate set of recordings from the Bolin archives yet. It seems like once you have one of these in your hand another one comes out making your mouth water and putting you on a never ending path of conquest that will only stop once you are able to give it a spin. It is worth every bit of that kind of obsessive behavior and it’s only a few cents over 20 bucks, it’s a no brainer people, that is if you are in musical nirvana listening to an eclectic and talented artist like Bolin.

The first disc is a remastered copy of the Teaser album and it comes at you in all its glory. The sound is superlative and crisp as the fall night air. It never sounded so good and to be honest it sounds as if it could be a new recording ready to hit the shelves today. It was originally released in 1975 to coincide with the release of Bolin’s latest gig at the time, Deep Purple, and their fantastic Come Taste The Band (also remastered with bonus tracks now). It was to be his only recording with them unfortunately.

Anything that this man did in the studio was phenomenal and for a maiden solo voyage Teaser was an outstanding snapshot of a guitar player reaching unheard of heights so early in a solo career. Bolin was on fire with passion and endless energy. In fact if you listen to all the bonus material provided in this set along with the remixed duets you will be swept away by its magic and power. Look at some of the names that decided to play alongside the legend, most of them are legends now themselves. That is the ultimate nod of respect from your peers.

Bolin was an accomplished master of the six-string and does he ever cut loose in the studio during these sessions. Tracks like “Oriental Sky (Lotus),”  “Homeward Strut” and “Marching Powder” give you some insight into his capabilities as a technically proficient musician. It’s ironic that the title set is called Teaser because this music is a flat out incredible display of guitar fireworks and fusion and it is really only a tease of what was in store for the listener in the future as the man would be cosmic dust the following year.

Is this an invitation to a timeless music loop playing in your head or a disappointing end to a man in his element? Whatever way you want to look at it or label it, the bottom line is this is a collection of music that will put you into a good frame of mind if you happen to dig long jams that twist and turn their way down the road of jazz, rock and fusion. Was it progressive? Absolutely, I have no doubt and to this day it sounds progressive and ahead of its time. That fact alone should make you curious enough to seek out this music. It’s a musical onslaught of guitar brilliance all wrapped up in a time capsule called CDs or better yet - a window into the soul of a tortured human being caught in the throes of addiction crying for release. I believe Bolin found that outlet in his music. The great gypsy soul lives on and he will for eternity because of ambitious labels like 429 Records.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: ALL

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Founder

November 14, 2012

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