|Purchase CD's Featuring Russell Bizzett
Stratus from Tommy Bolin Tribute
Drum solo from Tear Jerker by Wayne Peet
Tommy Bolin Tribute CD Reviews and Comments:
Got my Russell Bizzett CD yesterday; I'd like to share some thoughts.
It is not a Tommy Bolin CD.
If you like Tommy's music: BUY THIS CD!
RB has brought together a great group of LA and San Diego musicians to create music that will
change the way a lot of people feel about Tommy's music and hopefully expose many others to it for
the first time. There is a blend of rock and jazz. Some songs are not "fusion", but one or the other.
There is plenty of saxophone and keyboard playing on this disc. And the drumming and percussion
are superb as you might expect.
It starts out with a bang. "Stratus". Might as well swing for the seats. Not a straight bluesy reading
like a Craig Erickson version, but a real shot across the bow nonetheless.
The next song is "Dreamer" and you have not heard it done this way before. It is "dreamy" to coin a
phrase. Vocalist Ruby Etoile does an excellent job here. She is the vocalist of long-time So.Cal.
favorites "Ruby and the Red Hots". She has a strong clear voice and employs her own phrasing
here; a traditionalist might think she's falling behind the melody. But she is truly right there, just
feeling, and expressing the feelings, in her own way. A soprano sax is used as the "lead" instrument;
a solo at the beginning and in the middle. With a nice interplay between sax and guitar to close the
song. This is truly a more "pop" take on this song than you've heard before. It would be great on a
slow, sunny Sunday morning while you relax and enjoy a cup of....
AND THEN QUADRANT IV JUMPS OFF THE CD AND STRAIGHT DOWN YOUR THROAT! I'll get you for that
Russ. Man, they just hit this thing full stride right out of the gate. And it is a hopping version no
doubt about it. Like the original after drinking a 2 liter Red Bull!!! Holy Schnikes! Its short (@ 2:30)
Next up is "You Know You Know". Tasty. John spoke a little about this. This one really feels like the
musicians are really getting into the collaborative thing here. You'll like this.
"Born Under a Bad Sign" is one of only 2 non-Tommy songs. The male vocalist I believe is the bassist
Kevin Cooper. A throaty bluesy reading. The vocals on this are not unlike those on the Rocky Athas
version of Tommy's "Slow Driver". Not a standout version of a song that's been done a bazillion
times. But very well done and very enjoyable. Well within the comfort zone.
"Red Baron"......Dis da kine, bruddah! The very best track on this CD. I do not exaggerate in saying I
think this is the one cut better than the original. I'm no longer hearing musicians. This is seamless
and strong. If any song on this CD garners airplay this will be it. This song alone is worth the price
of the CD.
Next up is "San Francisco River". Never one of my favorites because it always seemed like a couple
of mismatched musical ideas forced together. But it is working here. I'm not sure which of the guitar
players listed is playing here, but this is the song that will most remind you of Tommy's playing. Kind
of gets a little improv-y at the end.
The last of the Bolin songs is "People, People". Once again Ruby's voice is the focal point here. But I
think the Tenor sax (as opposed to the strong Soprano influence on "Dreamer") is really well done.
And you can really feel the influence of RB's long time musical collaborator, keyboardist Wayne Peet.
Naturally he is a big influence throughout, but I get the feeling this is probably his arrangement.
(note: - actually this is Russell's arrangement) Once again the vocal phrasing will seem a little odd to
someone who has only heard the original. But it is not meant to duplicate the Lp, but interpret it.
And a fine job it is.
The CD finishes with the Wayne Peet tune "Tearjerker". This is apparently something Wayne and
Russell did in the past, and re-interpret here. At almost 10 minutes I'm still trying to wrap my head
around it. Good Stuff by some dynamite musicians.
At 52 minutes or so, you're not gonna get gypped on quantity. Rest assured you will not be
shortchanged in quality either. A welcome addition to the Bolin scene.
Bolin Archives Comment
Just got through my second spin of Russell Bizzett's new "Tommy Bolin Tribute" CD. It is AWESOME!!
Thanks so much, Russell, for such a well done tribute to such a truly transcendent musician: Tommy
Billy did a great job of reviewing this CD earlier on this board. All I can add is that it is your loss if you
don't purchase and listen to this lovingly done tribute to the man - The Kid!!
Thanks again, Russell! We owe you a huge debt of gratitude for this CD!
Jeff Cook Author of "Dreamer"
Bolin Archives Comment
Click picture for liner notes and credits