Tony Z

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Hammond B-3 blues organist Tony Z was long a fixture on the New England blues club circuit, and for two years as part of Boston-area guitarist Ronnie Earl's touring band, the Broadcasters. Born and raised…
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Artist Biography by

Hammond B-3 blues organist Tony Z was long a fixture on the New England blues club circuit, and for two years as part of Boston-area guitarist Ronnie Earl's touring band, the Broadcasters.

Born and raised in Boston, Tony Zamagni began playing organ at St. Patrick's School in Roxbury. He cut his musical teeth with the Boston band Combat Zone and then went on to play with the Platters for the next ten years. He spent most of the latter part of the 1980s trying to organize his own touring band (no small feat) and working as a session player in Miami for TK Records, where he recorded an LP with the group Miami. After meeting Ronnie Earl through a mutual friend, trumpeter Bob Enos, Zamagni teamed up with the guitarist and joined his road band, the Broadcasters, from 1989 to 1991.

In 1991, Zamagni moved to Chicago, where he worked for three years with guitarist Larry McCray and found work as a session musician on albums by Son Seals, Saffire, Little Smokey Smothers and Lee "Shot" Williams. Zamagni's debut album, Get Down With the Blues, was released on Rounder's Tone-Cool subsidiary in 1995. The outing is first-class, self-produced in Chicago's Streeterville Studios with some stellar backing musicians: former Roomful of Blues guitarist Duke Robillard, drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, saxophonist Houston Person, harmonica master Sugar Blue and former Albert Collins band bassist Johnny B. Gayden. Buddy Guy was so impressed by Get Down With the Blues that he hired Tony Z to tour with him. In 1998, Tony Z released his second record for Tone Cool, Kiss My Blues. The record featured another all-star cast including Cornell Dupree on guitar, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie on drums again, Chuck Rainey on bass, Lenny Pickett on sax and Kim Wilson blowing harp on two tracks. Since then he has toured with Buddy Guy and on his own, continuing to spread his unique take on the B-3 sound.