I just did a search and can't believe I have not written something by now about Chris Duarte, an extremely talented Blues Guitarist who I've been a fan of for some years now. He lived in Austin for an awful long time, gigging lots in Houston, Corpus, Austin and all over the States and into Europe. Hundreds of thousands of gigging miles, no doubt. He's put in a lot of time living and playing in Texas.
First, I want to say that the album I'm talking about was released back in 2000. It was released on Zoe Records, a company owned by Rounder Records. I'll throw some links in at the bottom of his post about Chris and his bands and whatever I can find out about him. It might have to be an update, so you can just google him down the road and find out all about him and his bands and his great, great blues rock music.
This is my favorite album that Chris has done, and would recommend it as a first listen to Duarte. All of his stuff has some harder edge blues rock material, this in my opinion came as close to blues rock zeppelin backbeat with a Texas screaming and tube distorted guitar, on top of NEW SONGS I HAVEN'T HEARD BEFORE AND THAT ROCK OUT!
Part of the reason this album rocks so hard is the bassist, John Jordan. He's a tower of talent in his own right. He was nice enough to talk to me some years ago about some of the music on his ONLY ONE CD, a personal release by John feature, well, some very jazz box playing by Mr. Duarte and some incredible drumming by Barry "Frosty" Smith, yet another in a long line of Duarte drummers. John's CD reminds me almost of a euro guitar CD by McLaughlin from the late 60's with the late Buddy Miles on the drums, it's that good and that electric. John plays both upright and electric, and plays very well. He's a groover too, as you hear as he lays down the foundation for this trio to rock like nobody's business, as the bassist in a solid blues rock trio must do.
So if you're interested in hearing some Duarte, I'm sure there is youtube aplenty and may itunes or other download services. I'd been looking for this disc for a few weeks, knowing it was shelved away in one blues rock area of music or another on one of several rooms of the hacienda. I found it this evening, just in time for a short run to the store and time for about four songs. Great songs. Rocking songs. Emotive blues guitar playing.
I just got caught in a real time flies moment here.
Wow. I was thinking this CD was from 2003 or 2004 but no, from ten dang years ago in 2000. And that's WOW because it DOES NOT SEEM LIKE TEN YEARS AGO but like yesterday when I came walking back into the office, happy from my extended Friday mexican food lunch, and I'd been listening to this CD all the way from the store marveling in it's rocking nature and Duarte's great merger of classic hurtin' guitar blues and some really solid original tunes. I started playing it in my office, and a neighbor came in to find out who was singing and playing that guitar. I remember it well.
Before 2000, I'd seen Duarte live many times and even had his first two CD releases, one of them being Tailspin Headwhack.
I remember the day I went to lunch with these two fellows I was working up a blues trio with and they told me that Duarte had released a new CD that had a bit harder edge, so we went by the store and I picked it up, on sale no less. It was something that
There's a lot of folks, guys and gals, who can play the you-know-what out of a guitar. Someone who can speak their emotions, often conflicted and complex, through six strings, ten fingers, two hands and a bunch of ways of hitting the strings and chording and fretting and all. It's not a dime-a-dozen skill, being a Texas blues guitarslinger, and there are all kinds of different ways to do it.
I've played so much blues and blues rock music all over this state and into a lil' ole bit of N'awlings on several occasions and worked with so many talented and yet diverse and different. With no disrespect to most of those folks (a few are truly outstanding and "taken by the blues guitar spirit"), Chris Duarte is one of those hard living bluesmen (or has certainly done his share of hard living) and that gritty life comes out in his playing and that of his bandmates.
Stalwart member for the time I was watching Duarte regularly, in the 90's and early 2000's, was his bassist Jon Jordan. Jordan is one of those folks who is incredibily talented on a highly technical musical level, but is also in touch with his soul and long ago understood that on most blues, "LESS IS MORE" in many aspects on all instruments in a blues combo. Say More with Less notes and Mo' feel.
There is a webpage devoted to the numerous drummers he's had, many of them pretty legendary.
If you ever wonder about what happened to guys playing something a little new and a little different in the Texas blues rock guitar line of music, then Chris Duarte bears a listen. He and the other bearers of the Austin blazin' blues rock guitarslinger (and there are more than a few) like Alan Haynes, Kent "Omar" Dykes, Charlie Sexton and one of my personal favorites, Doyle Bramhall (Clapton's latest favorite second guitarist, and I mean, how much better as a blues guitarist can a gig get than playing and recording with Clapton in his band as a regular full time job).
Other guys around Austin with tons of soul and chops on the Stratocaster, younger guys like Luke Cutcheon. That boy can play the guitar, boy-how-are-dee can he play the guitar, and tell a story with his fingers, and not say a word, although he is a good singer as well. A dang good singer, Luke is.
But back to this Duarte CD. It's good. It starts out from the very first note with a rumble and swings and funks and rocks all with that Texas Blues flavor I love so well. The songs are well written, and the liner notes tell the point of his life he was at when some things changed. All I can say is, parts of it for me border on Led Zepplinesque comparison in terms of just plain rocking out in a bit inventive and hard edged of a way, and there's probably only one other album in post 70's rock that had this quality:
So grab some tunes off youtube for Duarte ("CLEOPATRA" off another CD is an excellent tune) and see and hear for yourself. Then buy some of his music from him.
Here's a better review than mine, in bold and italics, from this website;
Chris DUARTE – Love is Greater Than Me 2000
The Chris Duarte Group plays some of the toughest blues-based guitar music to be heard today, with a sound that balances vitality and rawness with Chris’s astonishing and deeply spiritual playing. Love Is Greater Than Me, their first album in three years, explores soaring post-Hendrix rock (“Baddness,” Watch Out”), blues (“All Night,” “How Long”) and the intriguing Eastern modal sound of “Metaphor,” offered in contrasting electric and acoustic versions. Chris Duarte is esteemed in guitar circles (he placed fourth in a Guitar World poll – behind B.B. King, Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy!) and this is the hard-rocking album his many fans have been waiting for, with 11 new original songs.**Chris Duarte is indeed a legend in the music industry. He has been playing music for 25 years and seems poised to take that next step with the August release of Romp. His voice has never sounded sweeter and his guitar work is in top condition. It isn’t often someone can sit in a small bar and witness musician onstage actually melding with their instrument. There were points at the May 2, 2003 show at the Triple Crown in San Marcos where I wasn’t sure who was in control, the 1963 Stratocaster worn from years of playing, or Duarte – the stellar performer. I call Duarte a performer because a show by Chris Duarte is a performance. It is not just a man with a guitar on stage. It’s a wild being thrashing around making sweet love to six strings and playing loud passionate original music. Some nights he recites Shakespeare. Some nights he can go off on 20-minute guitar solos. Some nights both, but it’s always a new experience. It is difficult to categorize Duarte’s music – it is equal parts blues, rock, jazz and classical. A listener could easily place him in the “Texas Blues/Shuffle” category on the strength of Duarte’s 1994 release “Texas Sugar/Strat Magik”. Yet, in 1997, with the release of “Tailspin Headwhack”, Duarte delved deeper into the jazzy-funk rock sound. With 2001′s “Love Is Greater Than Me” he added a little classical guitar sound to the fold.By Sean Claes.**Chris Duarte has been many things during his career: Stevie Ray Vaughan heir apparent, psychedelic blues-rocker, light-speedy guitar god. For his third album, Duarte presents a new incarnation. It’s a lot like his previous ones, but with an added spiritual element that usually comes later in an artist’s career. So there are a few introspective pieces here–particularly “Azul Ezell” and “Metaphor (Acoustic)”–and a number of efforts at experimentation. One of these is “Metaphor (Electric),” which arrives just a few years too late for the grunge era. Another is “How Long,” with Duarte doing his best to sound like Howlin’ Wolf. Where does all this leave us? Well, it’s a good album, and there’s no doubting Duarte’s proficiency or his sincerity. It seems, though, that he’s still looking for his own voice. Once he can bring his considerable musical arsenal to bear on that, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.By Genevieve Williams. AMG.**The Chris Duarte Group, a power trio with attitude, has just launched their stongest project yet with “Love > Me.” The ride is an unbelivable one, starting off with the fuzz funk of “Baddness” moving through the rollicking “Brand New Day” and into the melodic “All Night”, which you cannot sway-proof yourself against. The Led Zepplin-induced “Metaphor Song” is as heavy as they come, showing Chris’ power and versatility. “Free 4 Me” pulses, and “How Long” is one of those songs causing the uncontrolled head-bob. But for the all-out Hendrix-a-thon, scramble your brain with “Watch Out.”. This one burns so hot I wondered if it would be wise to clear the area before playing it again. This song also really shows that Chris’ rhythm section is pure nitro: John Jordan on the 7-string thunder bass and Jason Patterson on drums form a strong backbone from which Chris can launch his spine-tingling attack. For those who prefer comparisons when shopping, artists like Stevie Ray, Hendrix, and Trower jump to mind. But Chris has his OWN thing: original, powerful and intense. “Love > Me” is a must-have CD.By Kelly Benjamin.
**Chris Duarte- (Vocals, Guitar);
John Jordan- (Keyboards, Acoustic & Electric Basses);
Jason Patterson- (Drums).
Doyle Bramhall- (Drums, Percussion);
James Fenner- (Congas, Percussion);
Erin Foster- (Riq, Tablas).
Brand New Day
Free 4 Me
Duarte E Ezell (Opus 1 no. 3)