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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Chris Duarte. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chris Duarte. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ken Valdez - Soul Renegade - New Release review

I just received the newest release (April 5, 2016), Soul Renegade, from Ken Valdez and it's adventurous. Opening with title track, Soul Renegade, Ken Valdez quickly establishes his notoriety as a singer songwriter and guitar player with a nicely crafted and executed blues rock ballad. Paul Peterson on bass, Mario Dawson on drums, Ricky Peterson on B3 and Jason Petersen Delaine on backing vocals round out the force giving Valdez a solid platform for a brief but tense guitar solo. Rio Grande Blues has a strong blues rock posture along the lines of Mountain or Mahogany Rush. With a solid bass line and cocky vocals, this is one of my favorite tracks on the release. Sugar Shakin' Boogaloo has strong Jimmy Reed lines and with super player Chris Duarte adding his fluid riffs, this track rocks! Make It has a super underlying bottom riff that gives the track real traction. Kevin B.F. Burt adds tasty harp riffs but the super balance between Valdez and Hazel Miller's vocals and the heavy bottom makes for a great track with some hot guitar flash. Sometimes has an almost Alan Parson's poppy funk feel but the raw edge of Valdez's vocals and stinging guitar riffs from guitar monster Eric Gales take it light years away. Far From Gone has a hi stepping R&B style and nicely the blended vocals featuring Valdez and Miller. Detroit Iron is an uptempo rocker featuring Tucker Sterling Jensen on bass and Joe Diaz on drums. Valdez takes his most aggressive solo on the release on this track, really letting it loose. With R Peterson on B3 this track cooks. Funky, Final Season, is a tight rocker featuring Adam Daniel on keys and B3. This track has a great groove giving Valdez some nice space to lay out some really nice guitar riffs. Hot! Whiskey and Water is a quiet country style ballad with Valdez singing some of his most serious vocals. Backed by Shalo Lee on vocals and with Greg Jennings on slide, this track has solid radio potential. Angels retains a bit of that country feel with a strong swatch of gospel. With Miller, Valdez, Jensen and Mary Cutrufello on backing vocals and a real nice piano solo from Brian Leeper this track is another of my favorites. Pulling from Willie Dixon's library, Wang Dang Doodle gets a heavy rock twist on an already solid blues base. This is a nicely stylized redo of a classic track and a great closer.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Provogue Records artist: Supersonic Blues Machine - West Of Flushing South Of Frisco - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, West of Flushing South of Frisco, from Supersonic Blues Machine and it's a smokin' cool release. Featuring the leadership of Lance Lopez (guitar and vocal), Kenny Aronoff (drums and percussion) and Fabrizzio Grossi (bass, Hammond and vocals) this band is cooking. Opening with Miracle Man, a southern influenced blues rocker, the band is really off to a great start complimented by Jimmy Z Zavala on harp, Serge Simic on acoustic guitar, Garrett Hollbrock on lap steel and Francis Bentez and Andrea Grossi on backing vocals. Next up is I Ain't Fallin Again, a sophisticated rocker with a cool back beat and a solid drive. Billy F Gibbons leads the way on vocal and guitar on Running Whiskey a straight up rocker with a definite Gibbons flavor. Remedy, features Warren Haynes and his influence is immediately noticed with a warm, laid back feel. Trading lead riffs and vocals with Lopez, Haynes doesn't dominate the track at all and it actually feels a bit like a cool Marshall Tucker influence with new wind in it's sails. Bone Bucket Blues is a great boogie with Paulo Verdone on lead guitar with Lopez on lead vocal and guitar. This track is hot with Jimmy Z's harp work as icing. Let It Be is a cool soul rocker track with some of Lopez's best vocals on the release. I particularly like Grossi's bass work on this track complimented by Hammond work by Sam Lusting and a solid solo from Lopez. Very nice! That's My Way features Chris Duarte on some flaming hot guitar riffs joined by Lopez on lead guitar and vocal and also featuring some tight bass work from Grossi. Ain't No Love (In The Heart of the City) is one of my favorite tracks on the release with particularly strong vocals from Lopez and strong backing vocal support from Francis and Andrea. Excellent! Nightmares and Dreams takes a heavier swagger and rightly so with guitar monster Eric Gales joining. Lopez, Francis and Andrea handle the vocals really nicely and with a rock solid bottom from Aronoff and lively bass by Grossi, this track is propelled by the guitar pyrotechnics of Lopez and Gales. Can't Take It No More has an almost Wishbone Ash feel with twin guitar leads courtesy of Lopez and Walter Trout. Trading lead vocals and Pink Floyd backing vocals by Francis and Andrea, this track is super. This is a really nice stack up with Trout and Lopez. It isn't as much a slug fest as it is a choreographed joust. Very nice! Whiskey Time is a 2 plus extended jam excerpt from Running Whiskey. You like guitars... this is cool! The king of the melodic blues guitar players, Robben Ford shares center stage for ballad, Let's Call It A Day. Lopez is in the left channel and Ford in the right channel, playing melodically along with Lopez's smooth vocals on this top selected radio track. Wrapping the release is Watchagonnado, a funky track with a super groove. Grossi sets a really nice bottom and Francis and Andrea highlight Lopez's super vocals. Phil Parlapiano adds a grat funky Hammond set and Lopez's guitar riffs really make this the best track on the release. Very cool!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Chris Duarte

Bman: Hi Chris. Been a fan for a long time. Glad to be finally catching up with you. I reviewed your newest release, Lucky 13 back in November and it cooks! I see that you're touring coast to coast. How is the new release being received?

Chris:  I think it’s going pretty good. Units are moving from the merch table and on this album I wrote a lot of songs that can be played live. In the past I just went a bit crazy on some things and layered too much so that it was nearly impossible to recreate even with two guitars. Try to keep is simple and come up with easy accessible hooks for the songs. People are digging Lucky 13 at the shows and on-line so I’ve been real happy with the response.

Bman: That's great! I remember when I first started to listen to you that my impression was you had a Texas flavor with a taste of Hendrix. That was what first attracted me to your music, that cocky guitar attitude with a lot of sting. A lot of water has crossed under that bridge. Your newest release, Lucky 13 maintains that cocky stinging playing but it goes so much farther.

Chris: I’m always trying to find new and different ways around the blues form. Tone of course is still of paramount importance, it’s my identity sometimes, but there’s still different ways to express myself melodically and sonically. I still want to be intrepid and adventurous when it comes to how I get my ideas out and what I’m trying to say on my axe.

Bman: I can see that. Crazy For Your Love is a particularly hot Texas style number. Is it hard to maintain your own identity when so many people relate your own style to that of SRV because of his popularity?

Chris: It doesn’t bother me a bit to have those comparisons anymore. I’m proud to be attached to SRV. I know I have my own thing from Stevie. I still use it to partly describe my sound so people can grab onto something in their mind and shape some kind of idea for what to expect from a show. I’m pretty sure when they come out and see one of my shows they’ll see that I’ve got Stevie in me but a lot other voices and inspirations I draw off as well.

Bman: You're right. I'm certain that the fans love to hear that familiar sound. Who Loves You has a whole different feel with Gatemouth Brown like guitar riffs. He was always one of my favorites and of course the comparison is more for listeners to understand what they may expect. What got you into this frame of playing?

Chris: That’s me trying to mimic a horn section and play like I’m kind of an old school type swing player that’s definitely got blues roots but dabbles a bit in some jazzy licks that have been acquired over the years. The fun part was trying to get the horn section together. Not bad for my first attempt at horn recreation and arranging. I thought about that just days before we recorded it. I would love to have had more time for more lines from the horns but alas it was not in the cards.

Bman: No, that's exactly right! I can see that. One of my favorite tracks on Lucky 13 is Let It Go. At over 9 minutes, your playing never seems tired or stretched. Is it hard to dig deep for that kind of gut wrenching soloing night after night?

Chris: Seems like I’m always putting on a minor blues on my albums and I have for the last 4 or 5 cd’s, so I’ve got such a complex about sounding like I’ve got nothing new to offer so I went for the ‘smoky vibe’ ala retro Nina Simone kind of nod on the vocals and phrasing. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have had an emotional peak with the guitar getting intense in the solo. I always do that and at the time of recording this song I just went with the usual template. Let It Go was one of those songs that I wrote while we were recording the album. The rhythm tracks and scratch guitar came first then the concept for the vocal styling. We had already crossed the Rubicon on that one.

Bman: It comes off really well. Not Chasing It has a certain looseness that I haven't heard from you before. Only a few players that I know play with "reckless abandon". Is it hard to get into that frame of mind and sustain spontaneity?

Chris:  This was another concept song that I was trying to make it boisterous and heavy at the same time. I wanted really distorted drums and a nasty guitar tone to fill out the sparse bass line I assigned the player to. Start off with that short snakey opening line then it breaks into a heavy riff dominated form. We just didn’t have time to dial in all the sonic embellishments on the song. I do bite off more that I can chew sometimes. I am pleased with the ‘way-over-the-top’ lead guitar tone we achieved. Like anything being recorded now, clever editing and cut n’ paste is done from time to time but when it’s done well you can’t argue with results. I wanted to convey a reckless and manic feel to go with the subject matter of the song.

Bman:  You definitely hit it! I really dig the Meus Via Vita Suite. This goes places that most blues people don't know. Are we going to hear more of this?

Chris:  I hope so. Over the years Mike Varney has slowly let out the artistic reins on me and I’m free to explore different avenues. This was one of those times. My blues fans shouldn’t worry, I’m not going to go out and do a ‘full-on’ concept album that Bob Ezrin would be proud of, but I do like this type of songs and stylings that are strung together telling a story. I had the first song, Let’s Go For A Ride completed and in my head, the other two in the suite had to be written there. Minefield of My Mind is trying to evoke the crazy emotions and terrible decisions that are made when you take part in deleterious behavior, then Setting Sun is saying goodbye to all the craziness. So as you walk this new road you see the sun setting on that part of your life that was with you for so long. Once again I’m happy with what we ended up with for the limited time frame we had to work in. I can play so much better inside the chords of Minefield now rather than how I played it on the album. I just wasn’t that used to the form and my ideas hadn’t any legs under them yet. It sounds OK but I’m so much more complex in the chords now.

Bman:  I'm looking forward to see how it's changing. Jump the Trane is a really cool shuffle finisher. I personally think that Lucky 13 is your most comprehensive work so far. Are you turning the corner into something a bit more different or was this just an experiment?

Chris:  I still want to explore new avenues and to expand my musical boundaries. I’ll always be working on getting to be better with my song forms and lyrics. I’ve still got such a long way to go as an artist. I’ll always have the blues in me and I’ll always try to be looking ahead.

Bman: Thank you so much for your time. Do you have anything in particular that you want to share with your fans?

Chris:  Thank you for having me on here and know that I will never take my fans for granted. Every time they see me I’m playing with all I’ve got. No mowing the lawn here. Never.

Bman: Continued luck with your tour and hope to hear from you again soon.

Chris: Happy to be here and I hope we can do this again in the future. Sincerely – chris duarte  

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”</ 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Blues Bureau International artist: Chris Duarte Group - Live

I just received the newest release, Live, from the Chris Duarte Band is it's killer. Hot on the heels of My Soul Alone released earlier this year, Duarte has put together a live set and it is terrific! You know how some bands are good on record but then fizzle live. Duarte is great on record and smokin' live. Opening with Freddie King's Hideaway, Duarte puts his own spin on a classic track and plays the crap out of it. Joined by band members Yoshi Ogasahara on bass and vocal as well as Jack Jones on drums this is a tight unit. Another classic, Big Legged Woman, is up next and we're talking funky here! Ogasahara and Jones really whip it up and Duarte plays what I can honestly say is the best guitar work ever done on this track. Frenzied, tight and innovative. Excallent! Ridin' is a fast paced blues rocker with a half tempo bridge showing a more progressive edge. This is hot... I mean hot! Junior Kimbrough's Do The Romp has a bit more meat than the original but maintains it's primitive nature. Duarte gives his strat a real workout on this track and Jones is deep into it. Make Me Feel So Right is a rollin boogie track with a Texas guitar drive. A bit more tame than earlier tracks on the release, it still gives you a healthy dose of rock and blues. Bottle Blues is down and dirty slow blues with terrific clean articulated guitar soloing. If you like that outrageous Texas style blues riffing (a la Albert King, SRV etc) you will absolutely love this track. Contrasting a whisper with a scream it got so hot that I had to turn down the air and crack a cold one! Let's Have A Party is a high energy blues rocker with plenty of fast paced guitar lead and double stops. Sit still and listen to this one. I dare you! Dylan's One More Cup Of Coffee is euphoric with swirling guitar sounds, the band exploring a number of different rhythm patterns, all of them equally interesting. This track may not be for the average listener but for the more sophisticated listener... I think it's a real treat! 101 feels a lot like Jimi with that drive and space. Duarte taks the lead of course but there are terrific bass lines throughout and Jones is relentless on the drums. Did I mention that this is a double disc release... disc one... outrageous!

 Disc 2 opens with The Best I Can Do, a driving rocker with a nod to the Everly Brothers vocally and Led Zep instrumentally...all twisted and Texas sounding. Nice! Satisfy has a real strong Texas blues lope to it. Duarte has been doing this guitar style since his first release and it always sounds great. In this case, there is also a pinch of country and a dash of Joe Walsh on vocal. Very cool. On classic Neville track, People Say, Duarte maintains a lot of the New Orleans feel and Jones helps to reinforce the funk. Duarte always does a real nice job on this track, this version being a bit more spartan that some I've heard. Again a bit more progressive instrumentally this track is very cool. On blues ballad, Hold Back The Tears, Duarte approaches more the folk or country rock arena but never letting up on the musical intensity. Sundown Blues, another track having a strong feeling of Hendrix in construction is an excellent foil for a 3 piece band. Duarte chokes every breath out of the guitar playing long Zappaesque guitar runs and crisp punctuating accents. Very cool! My Way Down, one of Duarte's best know tracks is up next with a funky Texas swagger. Sit back (if you can) and enjoy one of the current masters of contemporary blues smoke it. Like Eric is a great instrumental track reminding me a lot of early Billy Cobham with substantial forward drum work and jazz like blues riffs played on guitar. The only other band I can recall doing this successfully is the early Dregs. Great! Hard Mind is a cool 12 bar number with simple swing blues riffs played up front. Now mind you, this is a 9 minute track so the band has a strong opportunity to plays out some great riffs! Wrapping the release with John Coltrane's Alabama, Duarte again goes into progressive territory creating an entirely different world musically for the listener. I find this set amazing and will definitely be adding it to my best of 2013 releases. get a copy ... you can thank me later!

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Saturday, December 31, 2011

One of my favorite fusion songs - Stratus (Billy Cobham) Joe Bonamassa, Tommy Bolin, Frank Gamble, Jeff Beck, Chris Duarte

I remember the first time I heard this song. Before I played guitar I played drums and was really blown away by guys like Ginger Baker and john Bonham... but then there was Tony Williams .. and Billy Cobham! I was still living with mom and dad...well, I think I was home from college and I had like the best full blown stereo system that a kid could imagine... i won't go into all of my obsessions... but anyway I had all of my gear in the 2nd story of a two story house and the pool table of course was in the basement. I rigged wire to the basement and would put LP's on and then go down and play pool for 20 minutes to play pool with my pal Blues Ace. I would buy lp's by the armloads and play them all day while we played pool (I had a reel deck for parties). Anyway I would buy stuff I never heard (who'd a thunk it) and put it on and then go down to play pool. Spectrum comes on and and I about drop my pool cue. I had to find out who was playing guitar...I mean I bought a drum album.

It was Tommy Bolin. If you've never had the pleasure... woah.
Sorry no real video...but you can get the feel. If you like this at all, you should check out some of the Miles Davis (Amandela), Mahavishnu (Birds of Fire), Billy Cobham (Spectrum)...well, If you like it, and you want to know more,,,please comment. I have a lot of worthless knowledge up in my head and I am willing to share it.... conversly if you know someone that I should hear... stop holding out on me!! Enjoy!!

Of course I was blown away to find that my favorite contemporary player does it a few years ago...listen here:

Chris Duarte does a version of it... and a nice job!

Even Joe Bonamassa does it!

I love all of these guitar players... and Jeff beck almost always has the best guitar players on the planet.... but for all my drummer friends... here's Billy Cobham!! (He's one of the most articulate drummers to walk the universe!)

You name it ...they're here!
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Hope you enjoyed this as much as i did!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Medley - Chris Duarte

Duarte was first inspired by music at age 8 after seeing Fiddler On The Roof on television. Duarte began playing his brother's guitar, and got his first electric guitar at the age of 14 and played with bands in San Antonio. In 1979, Duarte moved to Austin, Texas and purchased a 1963 Fender Stratocaster guitar for $500. Duarte began exploring the jazz music of John Coltrane and Miles Davis.

Duarte won a label recording contract with Silvertone Records and released Texas Sugar/Strat Magik in 1994, and was named "Best New Talent" in Guitar Player’s 1995 Reader's Poll.[citation needed] He finished fourth in the magazine’s "Best Blues Guitarist" category behind Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King.

Though Duarte has played a limited number of U.S. dates in recent years with the Japanese band Bluestone Company backing him, he performs primarily as a power trio, the 'Chris Duarte Group'. Originally formed with long-time friends and collaborators John Jordan on bass and Jeff Hodges on drums, the current incarnation features Matt Stallard on bass and Chris Burroughs on drums. Apart from his band, Duarte has performed with Julie Burrell, Diana Cantu, Bobby Mack, Tracy Conover, Indigenous, and Omar & the Howlers.

Duarte's concert dates in Asheville, Charlotte and Greenville were filmed for "The PBS Project". This side-project featured Steve Bailey on bass and Jeff Sipe on drums.