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Tommy Bolin & Friends: Live At Ebbets Field 1974 (CD, 65:56); Zebra Records ZD 44302, 1999 Cyberpresences: www.zebradisc.com, www.tbolin.com After his stint with femme-vox driven, Zeppelinesque Zephyr and during his days with James Gang, Tommy Bolin managed to get together with some friends and jam out for two nights in June of 1974. From Denver, Colorado, Bolin and crew blasted the night skies with high-speed, ferocious, and free-spirited blues-rock. Yeah, there was even some jazz-rock fusion sprinkled liberally in each night. Sample “You Know, You Know”, “Homeward Strut”, “Stratus”, and the Santana-flavored “Crazed Fandango” for Bolin’s 70's-bred fusion. Bolin is know by way too few guitarists and rock fans out there. His playing is simply put, phenomenally versatile and flat-out fun. It seems Bolin never took himself too seriously, easily throwing down the blues, rocking out with the best Hendrixian riffs of his day, and even playing Ray Gomez-styled jazz rock fusion. He could also sing quite well, as evident on his Private Eyes and Teaser releases. Whether it was replacing rockers Joe Walsh in James Gang or Blackmore in Deep Purple, it was no problemo to Bolin. He played killer fusion with Billy Cobham on Spectrum, Alphonse Mouzon and Lee Ritenour on Mind Transplant, and even jammed with Jan Hammer. Did I mention his mean slide guitar technique? Bolin’s guitar history bounced all over the place style-wise and somehow this may have served to thwart his nailing down a devoted fan base. It seems Bolin was a seeker, striving to find his voice, emulating what popular styles worked during his musical journey. Tragically, it seems substance abuse and a fatal overdose, took him from us before he could reach his full potential. This recording catches Bolin doing it all, having a blast, and laying down the jams he loved, in the raw, full of Bolin energy and his crazy way with an axe. Bolin’s Echoplex effect screamin’ into an infinity of feedback-looped, echoes before suddenly collapsing upon themselves into abrupt silence is strangely apropos -- his career of ever-widening talent and looming possibilities was forever cut short by his untimely demise. We will miss you forever Tommy. Thanks for all the fine music and inspiration you gave us. ~ John W. Patterson
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