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      Chris Duarte Group Tour Dates and Concert Tickets

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      Rock / Blues / Psychedelic
      When it comes to electric six-string sizzle, power and punch, it’s by now a basic, indisputable fact that Chris Duarte is one of today’s red-hottest guitar talents, delivering a “high-octane, lightning-bright, raw but intelligent brand of playing” that makes him “certainly one of blues-rock's mos... read more

      Chris Duarte Group Tickets

      Other Tour Dates (2)
      May 29 Sportsmen's Tavern Buffalo, New York
      Jul 20 Shank Hall Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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      When it comes to electric six-string sizzle, power and punch, it’s by now a basic, indisputable fact that Chris Duarte is one of today’s red-hottest guitar talents, delivering a “high-octane, lightning-bright, raw but intelligent brand of playing” that makes him “certainly one of blues-rock's most impressive current practitioners,” as All Music Guide puts it. But for all his obvious guitar gifts, Duarte is far more as a musical artist, supplying a stunning breadth of creativity that also marks him as a notable singer, songwriter and stylist over the course of what is now five albums and countless miles tearing the roof off of venues across North America, Europe and Japan.

      Or more simply put, Duarte is the full musical package, albeit with his guitar leading the charge. And his latest long-player, Blue Velocity, “is where it all comes together,” as All Music Guide notes. Produced by Mike Varney — known for his work with such guitar gods as Yngwie Malmsteen, Leslie West, Michael Schenker, Pat Travers, Larry Coryell, Eric Gale and a host of others — and released on the Blues Bureau International imprint of Varney’s Shrapnel Label Group, it’s a stunning 11-track musical monster on which Duarte hits all the many musical bases of his expansive artistic vision like a home run king.

      “Every single album has moved me a bit forward, and every album I come away thinking it’s my finest work and I had the most fun yet making it. And I definitely feel that about this album,” says Duarte. “Mike got really personally involved and emotionally invested in this album, and I truly appreciated that. It was a great collaboration.”

      The proof of that is etched into the disc from the deep-fried funky blues rocker that opens the set, “Amy Lee,” to its hard-charging closer, “Met My Match.” In between, one finds electrified Texas roadhouse blues workouts like “Do It Again,” “Hard Mind” and “Leave Her Be” as well as the hard-rocking juggernaut “Never Gonna Change” and jazzy psychedelic rockers like “I’ll Never Know” and “Out In The Rain.” Rounding out the set are three lengthy simmering tours de force: the 13-minute deep-in-the-groove boiler “Something Wicked,” the nine-plus soaring and searing minutes of “Sun Prairie Blues” (inspired by the Cotati, California studio where Blue Velocity was recorded), and the nearly nine-minute stratospheric glide of “R U 4 Real?” Throughout the CD, Duarte rolls out an almost encyclopedic lexicon of stunning six-string riffs, runs, flights and tones in addition to his most supple and soulful singing to date along with hook-laden melodies that grab the ear and don’t let go. All told, it’s a rich and spirited guitar-centered expedition into musical realms both new and familiar that dazzles and delights with every track.

      Blues Access hails Duarte as a “genius,” but Chris demurs the heady accolade, reserving that description for such inspirations as John Coltrane (“my musical icon,” he notes), John McLaughlin (“my favorite guitarist”), Miles Davis, blues guitar giants like Freddie King, Albert King and Albert Collins, six-string visionary Jimi Hendrix and modern blues-rock icon Stevie Ray Vaughan, who set the stage for Duarte’s launch from the Austin, Texas music scene where he came of age as a player and artist. Born in San Antonio, Texas in 1963 — the same year that his favorite Fender Stratocaster was made — Duarte picked up the guitar at age 14 and within a year was out playing the clubs, honing his chops and already impressing listeners. At 16, he dropped out of high school and moved to Austin, where he further expanded and polished his musical vocabulary and proved his wide-ranging versatility playing blues, rock, jazz, R&B, funk and various combinations thereof in a variety of popular local bands.

      On hearing a then-largely-unknown Stevie Ray Vaughan one night at Austin’s Continental Club, Duarte sensed the potential for a guitar-based power trio as a vehicle for expressing his many musical influences and aspirations. He put together the original Chris Duarte Group, and by the early 1990s he was packing clubs and ruling the roost in a city where hot-shot guitar-slingers are almost a dime a dozen, eventually catching the attention of Silvertone Records. His 1994 debut album, Texas Sugar/Strat Magik, captured the incendiary live power of the Duarte Group, winning him Best New Talent honors the following year in Guitar Player magazine’s readers poll, which also rated him fourth in its Best Blues Guitarist category behind legends Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King.

      With his second album, Tailspin Headwhack, Duarte further opened and expanded his style, winning praise from Musician magazine for his “monstrous chops, from funk to punk, from Hendrix to B.B. King, all marked by Duarte’s percussive, in-your-face Strat sound and a subtle use of samples, loops and electronics.” On album number three, Love Is Greater Than Me, he injected whiffs of everything from grunge to jazz to funk into his sound. Then on the aptly named Romp in 2003, Duarte reunited with Texas Sugar/Strat Magik producer Dennis Herring in a Mississippi studio for another primarily live-to-tape blast of the fire and fury — laced on the disc with tasty Latin, gospel and Southern accents — that had made the Chris Duarte Group one of the hottest acts on the international tour circuit.

      Duarte’s creative collaboration with Varney fulfills a longstanding desire on the part of both parties to work together ever since Varney caught the Duarte Group at a gig in San Francisco, and came up to Chris afterwards to tell him how much he liked the hints of John McLaughlin’s style within the band’s rough’n’ready blues-rock workouts. “I immediately knew that he got what I’m all about,” recalls Duarte.

      For Blue Velocity, Varney told Duarte right off the bat, “Hey, we’re really going to spend time working on your solos,” and it paid off in a disc rich with stunning guitar virtuosity and variety. As well, the album reflects Duarte’s ever-growing confidence with his voice as yet another powerful instrument for his rich sense of musical expression.

      “I feel that I’ve been awakened again, and also still feel like I have a long, long way to go,” says Duarte. Recent years have seen him release his first instructional guitar DVD, and a 2005 move from Austin to Atlanta, Georgia opened new vistas for him in a fresh locale.

      He has also joined up with Japan’s acclaimed Bluestone Company, whose Toshihiro Sumitoro contributed two songs to Blue Velocity. Having now a second venue for his creativity as well as different set of cultural references and influences has only fired Duarte’s artistic imagination even further. “It’s great because it’s not me holding up the band, I’m not the total focus,” he observes. “I really like being a member of a group and sometimes enjoy just holding down the rhythm. I’m having a really good time with those guys and love the collaboration.

      “I’m hungry again for knowledge of my instrument and different ways to express myself musically,” explains Duarte. “I feel like my need to explore new realms is stronger than ever. But I also realize at the same time what my musical bread and butter is for my fans, and I’m striving to incorporate my many influences and all that is going on musically right now with that and stay fresh and current.”

      Or in other words, Duarte’s aim remains the same as it has been ever since he first strapped on an electric guitar. “I just want to keep getting better and better.”

      Categories: Music | Blues

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