Tommy Z is an American electric blues guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer and audio engineer, who has released three albums to date. He has been described as a "blues treasure" by Jim Santella (WBFO), and as "one of WNY's best kept secrets" by Sarah French of Blues Matters! magazine. In 2007, he was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.
Born in Hamburg, New York, United States, the son of a Vietnam-era veteran, he has been honored with a number of awards including the Top Blues Vocalist in Western New York (2003, 2004 and 2006), and Top Blues Guitarist (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2004, 2005, and 2006). His group, known simply as the Tommy Z Band, has won the Top Blues/Crossover Blues Band category (1994, 2005 and 2006). Tommy Z also got the Muddy Waters Award for "Artist of the Year", granted by the Blues Society of WNY in 2004. In 2007, he was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. He once toured backing Pinetop Perkins. Tommy Z has also traveled regularly to various war torn areas since 2003, to entertain American troops overseas. He is based in Buffalo, New York.
In 2006, Tommy Z played rhythm guitar on Ian Gillan's album, Gillan's Inn, on the remake of the track "When a Blind Man Cries," which also featured work by Jeff Healey and Jon Lord. In the same year, Tommy Z contributed to Michael Lee Jackson's album In a Heartbeat, which was recorded at the Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Tommy Z performed at Thursday at the Square in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2011.
In April 2010, Tommy Z performed at the Washington Monument for FreedomWorks' Take Back America 2010 campaign. In 2013, his second release, Sometimes, gained a higher profile, being played on both FM radio and the internet, and it made the initial voting for recordings submitted under the Best Blues Album category for a Grammy Award. The album included Tommy Z's cover version of Johnny "Guitar" Watson's track, "Gangster of Love". He and his band continue to tour appearing at music festivals both in the United States and elsewhere. He is a Canisius College graduate, an oftimes guitar teacher, and has composed music for film and TV including Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure, Last Comic Standing (NBC), Animal Planet's Swamp Wars (main title), and America's Next Top Model. In 2015, Tommy Z was employed as the new blues radio DJ by WBFO.
Blizzard of Blues (2016) debuted at number 8 in the Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart, and was the only independent record label release on that week's list. Tommy X wrote eight of the tracks on the album, which were partly inspired by both his experience of driving in blizzard conditions on Route 219 in New York, and the loss of a friend and business associate. The album was recorded in 2015 at Robby Takac's GCR Audio recording studio, with Tommy Z undertaking both audio engineering and production duties.
|2005||Universal Love||South Blossom Records|
|2016||Blizzard of Blues||South Blossom Records|