The Ultimate Teaser (Samson Records/429 Records FTN17894, 2012)
This new three CD collection produced by Greg Hampton and Johnnie Bolin presents the impressive electric guitar work of Tommy Bolin. He was one of the best rock guitarists of the early 1970s. Unfortunately, his career didn’t last very long. He died in 1976.
Teaser is a classic rock album that showcased Bolin’s talent and which is now available in remastered format. Bolin played guitar and vocals in the album and had an impressive cast of session musicians, including renowned jazz saxophonist David Sanborn; keyboardist Jan Hammer; Peter Frampton’s bassist Stanley Sheldon, Phil Collins of Genesis on drums; Latin percussion master Sammy Figueroa, the late Jeff Porcaro of Toto on drums and many more.
Although the original Teaser is essentially a rock album with radio-oriented songs, Tommy Bolin spiced the album with superb electric guitar solos and some pieces out of the norm like the jazz-rock fusion instrumental ‘Marching Powder.’
The best material, however, appears on the extra CDs. Disc 2 contains an alternate rocking version of the title track ‘Teaser’ with more solo guitar work that the original version.
The lengthy ‘Flying Fingers’ is jazz-rock fusion at its best, fusing rock, funk and jazz. It’s followed by another fusion jam piece titled ‘Cookoo.’ Then there is another rocker, an algternate version of ‘Wild Dogs.’ Disc 2 ends with tasteful instrumental blues and jazz piece titled ‘Chameleon.’
Disc 3 begins with more fine fusion on ‘Crazed Fandango,’ featuring solos by David Sanborn on sax and Tommy Bolin on guitar. After that, it’s an alternate version of rock song ‘People, People.’ The fusion returns with ‘Smooth Fandango,” Don’t let the title fool you, this is fiery fusion, not smooth jazz.
An alternate version of ‘Marching Powder’ appears on Disc 3. The Ultimate Teaser ends with an alternate version of the rock song ‘Homeward Strut’ and the instrumental piece ‘Oriental Sky’ which has elements of hard rock and progressive rock.
Tommy Bolin was an outstanding guitarist who mastered many genres, including rock, fusion, funk, reggae and hard rock. He played with the legendary rock bands The James Gang and Deep Purple, and Billy Cobham’s “Spectrum” fusion.
Along with the 3 CD set, 429 Records will release a 5 CD set, “The Definitive Teaser Collector’s Edition” that also includes the 2 CD Deluxe version of Great Gypsy Soul–a collection of Bolin songs recorded by a top notch roster of players who signed on to pay tribute to Bolin. Guests include Peter Frampton, Warren Haynes (a key supporter of the project), Nels Cline, Steve Lukather, Steve Morse, Brad Whitford, Joe Bonamassa, John Scofield, Derek Trucks, Glenn Hughes and Myles Kennedy.