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“Teaser” – Tommy Bolin (1975) [english]

The reservoir of genius and madness that produced the ’70s, is a bottomless pit. I don’t exaggerate, trust me, the magic folds of those 10 years have passed on the Earth so many artists that have upset the world of music that listing them all is impossible, you always forget about someone and you make monstrous torts. And in a lot of cases, like this one I’m about to tell you about, careers have been comets, bright, fiery, but very short. Many have left us too soon, too many have been devoured by their genius and by the whole outline or even just by bad luck, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Duane Allman to mention the most famous and Tommy Bolin, who died on December 4, 1976 at only 25 years. Twenty-five years are very few but the legacy of his art was huge although not many have deepened, leaving on the guitarist a magical aura, a cult that was for a few, too brilliant, too many different influences to make it become for the masses but for this very reason even more loved. The memory that everyone has of him was the very short passage in one of the most famous rock bands of all time and certainly one of the most important, Deep Purple to replace another genius of the six strings : Ritchie Blackmore, who left the band in 1975 on the eve of recordings of the band’s new album due to irreconcilable differences with the new band’s direction with Coverdale and Hughes at the helm. The album that will come out of the collaboration with the brilliant Bolin, Come Taste the Band, will be the only one with the line-up number 4 of Purple (mark IV) and despite the overall quality of the 10 pieces, did not repeat the success of previous. During the tour that followed, Tommy’s drug problems became heavy and unacceptable to the rest of the band. The climax was reached on 19 March 1976 in Liverpool, when Bolin collapsed on the ground during the performance causing David Coverdale’s furious reaction to abandon the scene, suspending the concert and ending the Deep Purple that broke up and remained inactive until 1984, when they returned with the line-up called mark II (including that with Gillian, Blackmore, Glover, Lord and Paice) and with the album Perfect Strangers. The premise was necessary to frame the moment in which the disc I’m going to talk about was conceived, that is, just when Deep Purple called him and just after the end of his adventure with the James Gang (adventure, however, lasted very little). It was the beginning of 1975 and Tommy Bolin was determined to work alone, to show the world that his talent could not be harnessed at someone’s service and began to work on the pieces that will compose Teaser in Los Angeles, together with friends Stanley Sheldon (bassist) and Bobbie Berge (drummer). As soon as word got out that the brilliant Bolin wanted to release a solo album, immediately Atlantic Records always looking for the new crack in the music business, understood the power of the deal and proposed to the guitarist a deal. This agreement would remove the artist from the choice of the set list, the producer and the way to arrange the pieces and could not be accepted by someone like Bolin. Thanks to producer friend Barry Fey, he found in Nemperor Records a valid alternative and signed for them, it was April 1975. Just as the work begins to bear fruit, comes the call to which you can not say no. Deep Purple must replace Blackmore and none of those heard so far for the auditions had triggered the magic (so said the late John Lord). Coverdale was dazzled by the four songs from Billy Cobham’s album, Spectrum, in which Tommy Bolin is listed as lead guitar and decides to summon him for a rehearsal. A test that lasts 4 hours (documented only with a bootleg that I recommend to recover) and leaves the DP amazed : he was the man. For Bolin it was also an opportunity to promote at the same time his solo career, having become the guitarist of one of the most famous bands in the world, the classic two birds with one stone. The first problems, however, were logistical, having no gift of obiquity among his immense qualities, Bolin divided between Munich (where Purple recorded Come Taste the Band) and Los Angeles, New York and London (where Teaser was mixed), stress and substance abuse went hand in hand but did not, for the time being, affect his inspiration and performance. Teaser collaborated with many musicians including Jeff Porcaro and Phil Collins and was produced by Bolin himself along with Lee Kiefer. The album, consisting of 9 pieces, was released in October 1975 a few days after the release of Come Taste The Band, Tommy also got Purple commercial permission to apply a small sticker to the cover of his work that said that was the new Deep Purple guitarist’s album. The album sold very well and the critics began to praise this talent that mixes rock, blues, jazz, country, samba and reggae as if nothing had happened and without seeming to struggle. It would take a nice promotional tour but here is the second major logistical problem : his solo guitar contract of Deep Purple imposes his presence in the tour that follows the release of CTTB and this causes him a psychological abatement that will have important consequences on his addictions. The album starts with a rocket with a song with a strong funk-rock flavor The Grind, the spherical snap of Bolin and his acute voice immediately captivate the ear as well as the arrangements of excellent workmanship. The brilliant talent of the guitarist explodes in all its sparkling strength in the solo, supported by an exceptional rhythmic and piano by David Foster. The next Homeward Strut is another brilliant guitar-keyboard interlacing, with the six strings painting riffs and solos to take your breath away and intertwining them with the synth and the rhythmic arrembante of the great Jeff Porcaro. The piano introduces the ballad Dreamer, an intense and not trivial rock-ballad where the voice gives its best and at the beginning it almost makes you forget the guitar but towards the end you take the proscenium and set, in the middle of a nice full-bodied riff and keyboards, another magic solo. Citation for the uvla of the great Glenn Hughes (bass player of Deep Purple) who although not mentioned in the credits by his contribution. Savannah Woman possesses almost caribbean and jazz influences, an unsettling trend where light the six strings paints weaving softly wary that are the forerunner to the killer riff of the title-track, a song influenced by the most aggressive blues rock and where the guitar is the undisputed protagonist, but the direction is never trivial or obvious, almost as if jazz took over a hard rock track. People People begins with a riff just mentioned that accompanies the voice, but then joins the interlacing sax by David Sanborn and the rhythmic veers towards a reggae jazz, showing the world a compositional and expressive talent that has had few equals in the world of music. After the aggressive riff of Marching Powder that flows into a funk-jazz that is the outlet of the talent of a support band absolutely equal to such a genius, comes the best song of the lot and masterpiece left us by the great Bolin, Wild Dogs. An intense, exciting rock ballad that the guitar enriches with celestial embroidery, intricate unforgettable riffs and gives us a stunning beauty solo. A song that then Tommy also resumed during the live of Deep Purple, so much had understood the expressive force of this wonderful song never quite celebrated by the rock world. The record closes with Lotus, which with its almost psychedelic aura that flows into scratching riffs, concludes an electrifying record, overflowing with talent and desire to amaze, a record that would have deserved much more welcome and consideration. The drug problems, exacerbated by the stress of not being able to promote and play his record for the arrangements, caused the immediate break with Purple and the continuation of his solo career. The Coverdale band was no longer willing to accept a guitarist never lucid and that had ruined even the live that came out posthumously in 1977, despite the protests of the British group, Last Concert in Japan where it is clear the terrible and distressing decline of Bolin. After Purple, his solo career continued with touring with major artists and a final record, Private Eyes in 1976. Unfortunately, his addiction to heroin demanded a steep bill and as in these cases, those around him did not help. On the night of December 4, 1976, after a concert with Jeff Beck in Miami and after a post-concert party of whiskey, champagne and drugs, he collapsed while on the phone and never regained consciousness. Certainly the ambulance called late to not attract negative publicity did not help and this guy from Soiux City, Iowa who at only 25 years was ready to become the new rock star, appreciated by the public and critics, died of an overdose. He left us with the bitter feeling, happened too many times, of having missed the opportunity to continue to discover a boundless talent, like Jimi and Duane. This Teaser, of which in 2015 came out a wonderful edition for the 40th anniversary that I recommend to discover, is a jewel, an exciting and unique legacy of a talent perhaps too boundless to be held on the shoulders of a single mortal. A testament in notes of one of the elect of the six strings and that will never be forgotten, a perfect photo record of the music of Tommy Bolin : varied, fun, exciting and never trivial.

Good listening,

Trex Willer by http://www.magazzininesistenti.it

you can find original italian article at this link : http://www.magazzininesistenti.it/tommy-bolin-teaser-1975-di-claudio-trezzani/?fbclid=IwAR14B31rUzbQB3pb3NTymMAm1Kd_gSXY1KlFwCIuGEaRiz8Vy5rKAL1GV6w )

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