Tommy Z

Tommy Z is a contemporary blues artist and radio host from Buffalo, NY who has been described as a "blues treasure" by legendary 97 Rock/WBFO DJ Jim Santella, and "one of WNY's best kept secrets" by Sarah French, Blues Matters Magazine. He is a guitar-driven electric blues-based stylist onstage, but in the studio Tommy composes a variety of music. So while experienced and studied in traditional blues, jazz and rock styles, Tommy is an artist who puts that soulful blues feeling into all the different styles he plays. He's been been recognized with numerous awards over the years, including being voted Top Blues Vocalist in Western New York 2003/2004/2006, Top Blues Guitarist 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2006 and his band has won the Top Blues/Crossover Blues Band categories 1994, 2005, 2006, and was honored with the Muddy Waters Award for "Artist of the Year" by the Blues Society of WNY in 2004. In 2007 Tommy was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, recognizing him alongside some of the best talent to ever come out of WNY (including Rick James, The Goo Goo Dolls, Billy Sheehan, etc.). He has had the opportunity to perform, record with/or co-bill with some of the world's top artists in the blues/rock genre including: B.B. King (and daughter Shirley), Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jeff Healey, Colin James, Tinsley Ellis, Roomful of Blues, Blues Traveler, Derek Trucks, Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph, Peter Frampton, Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), Carey Bell, John Mayall, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tommy Castro, Duke Robillard, Elvin Bishop and many more including a tour backing up Grammy-winning blues legend Pinetop Perkins (Muddy Waters Band).  Tommy has come a long way from playing the top bars and music venues in Buffalo to being an international and domestic festival headliner.

The son of a Vietnam-era veteran, he has been bringing a taste of home to US troops overseas since 2003 with blues-based concert tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Japan, South Korea, Djibouti, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Turkey, Guam, Alaska and other distant locales on behalf of USO/AFE. Rolling Stone Magazine called some of these locations, "The most dangerous gigs on Earth." Tommy contributed guitar tracks to Deep Purple vocalist/Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ian Gillan's CD on Immergent called Gillan's Inn, on the track "When A Blind Man Cries," which also featured blues-rock legend Jeff Healey and of course Deep Purple's Jon Lord. 
  In 2006 a CD entitled Universal Love was produced with outstanding Canadian engineer/producer Nick Blagona (BeeGees, Chicago, Police), and it was described as "soul-rockin' blues" by Bob Putignano, NYC Blues Society President and Sounds of Blue DJ (WFDU), "awesome" by Bob Silvestri, Best of WNY, and "should feature high on your list of 'new' acts to investigate" Mick Rainsford, Blues in Britain Magazine.  He's been featured/mentioned in industry magazines such as Fender's Frontline, Mix Magazine, Blues Matters, Blues Blast, Blues Music Magazine (Germany), Blues-E-News, Jazz/Blues Florida and Guitar Edge Magazine, etc.


In addition to his performance schedule, Tommy is a Canisius College graduate (BA Communication), guitar teacher, and between CD's as an artist he has spent much of his creative time as composer/producer for Film, TV, Sports, etc.  His credits include writing the victory song for the St. Louis Blues (NHL), Red Hot Chili Peppers Biography, Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure (iTunes #1 indie film), Last Comic Standing (NBC), TLC's Stager Invasion, Animal Planet's Swamp Wars (main title), Bravo's Chef Roble and Co., Insane Pools: Off the Deep End, Discovery Channel's Biker Live, America's Top Model, Insane Pools/Off the Deep End and others.

In 2013 Tommy got back to making his own music as an artist and released of "Sometimes" which garnered even more national and international attention than "Universal Love." Now the secret was out.  It made both the Roots Music Report Top 50 Blues Airplay charts, overseas blues charts in France, etc. and was accepted for the first round of voting for Best Blues Album at the Grammy's for that year (BoB was also subsequently accepted).  It received glowing reviews in such publications as American Blues Scene, Blues Rock Review, About.com/blues and many more.  
In 2015 the band was invited to be the international headliner for the Cali Blues and Folk Festival in Colombia, South America for nearly two weeks of concerts and master classes which were extremely positive in their reception.  In 2015 Tommy was hired as a new blues radio host/DJ by the NPR/WNED affilated station WBFO 88.7 FM where he programs classic and modern blues music for listeners in the WNY/Southern Ontario area and online at www.wbfo.org. 

The follow-up album, "Blizzard of Blues" was released in the Winter of 2016.  Two weeks before the official release date it debuted as the #1 Blues Rock Album (Roots Music Report) where it spent eight straight months on the RMR airplay charts.  On the day of release it shot up onto iTunes Top 10 Blues Chart while being featured and then it debuted on the Billboard Blues Top 10 Album Chart alongside such greats as Billy Gibbons, Gary Clark Jr., Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy, Tedeschi/Trucks, etc.  It was the only release by an unsigned independent artist on that week's chart.  The reviews and accolades and chart positions continued to pile up for "BoB" including a debut on the Feb. 2016 Living Blues Radio Chart at #14.
 
In the Summer of 2018, Beth Hart had a short term medical issue which forced her to cancel an appearance in Western New York opening for Kenny Wayne Shepherd.  When names were being tossed around the KWS tour bus for a replacement, it was none other than Chris "Whipper" Layton, drummer for Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, who spoke up and said,"I know him (Tommy Z), call those guys."  It turned out to be one of the most epic Canalside concerts ever.  2018 concluded with the Tommy Z Band as the headliner of the Buffalo Ball Drop.  It is the 2nd largest ball drop in the country with upwards of 40,000 in attendance and widespread TV coverage.  
 
2019 shows no signs of slowing down with the anticipated release of the next CD and the band in high demand at top venues and festivals.   

Photo by Michael Beck

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