Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

March 19, 2013

Tommy Z Band at Hard Rock's Free Fridays

Niagara Gazette — Even though The Tommy Z Band didn't win the competition to open at Eric Clapton's music festival this year, the contest really helped the band to reach out to new fans.

"It's been a win-win for us," said band leader, who goes by the name Tommy Z. His band beat out more than 2,500 other bands to make it into the top 100 for the chance to open at Clapton's Crossroads in April, but lost the top spot to a solo singer last Friday. Despite that, the bands' fans got behind them and helped to generate more attention for their music through the competition's social media outreach. "We got our music out to a lot more people," Tommy Z said. "Traffic on our Facebook page increased by over 150 percent."

The band will celebrate their new CD, "Sometimes"  at a CD release party at 9 p.m. at the Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls on Friday. Dave Miller of Dive House Union will open for the band at 8 p.m. 

"We've been described at a 'soul rockin' blues band,'"  said Tommy Z  who, prior to starting the band in 1995, played with The Hurricanes and toured with bluesman Pine Top Perkins. 

The Tommy Z band, which includes Damone Jackson, a drummer who played with Rick James and Stefanie Mills, and Buffalo Music Hall of Famer, Jerry Livingston, has performed thoughout the region, including at the Seneca Niagara Casino, and Thursday at the Harbor in Buffalo. 

The band's first CD was called "Universal Love," and was the centerpiece of their 2003 performances touring war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq and American military bases throughout Europe.  The new CD invokes blues rockers like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, Tommy J said, adding, "There's a nod to tradition, but it also embraces the present sound of contemporary blues with elements of funk and rock and soul."

For more information about Friday's event visit Facebook and search "The Tommy Z Band."

IF YOU GO • WHO: Tommy Z Band • WHAT: CD release party at Free Fridays at the Hard Rock Cafe • WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday • WHERE: Hard Rock Cafe, 333 Prospect St. • MORE INFO: Contact the Hard Rock at 282-0007

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