From the opening notes of this disc, you get the idea that there is definitely something serious going on here. Over the years, Chris Duarte has established himself as a big gun in the guitar-based Blues-Rock genre, and this release solidifies that statement. Produced by Doyle Bramhall (an amazing Texas songwriter and performer in his own right, Doyle also produced the current disc from Indigenous, Circle), this CD is Duarte's finest work since Tail Spin Head Whack, his 1997 release.
Released late in 2000, "Love is Greater Than Me" is filled with an array of unbelievable guitar sounds, the songs also ride a pendulum of various styles, combining Blues, Rock and Fusion, with the focus on Chris' chops and incredible tones. The first song, "Badness," immediately gives one the irresistible urge to bounce your head up and down to the groove. On the second track, however, "Brand New Day" has the classic flavor of a supped-up toe tapping Texas shuffle.
Later in the disc, the instrumental "Azul Ezell," a heavier composition, flows from Hard Rock, to nearly a Latin music vibe, and then again, effortlessly to a Jazz/Fusion feel. The colors on this recording are vast, to say the least. Duarte has endured the obvious comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughan in the past, in regards to licks, tone and songs. But this disc shows the intensity which is purely Chris Duarte.
What's a good guitarist without a good rhythm section? Drummer Jason Patterson
and bassist extraordinare, John Jordan make their abilities apparent by creating the landscape that Duarte constructs his amazing sonic world. Jordan's departure from the group just after the release of this recording left many fans and friends bewildered, as his sound has helped shape the force which CDG have become. His replacement, Robert Kearns, instead of attempting to fill the shoes, brought his own, insuring that the group's live show energy didn't miss a beat with the fans.
Lovers of guitar oriented Blues/Rock will really love this disc with all of the power and emotion that it contains. And although the Texas based CDG doesn't get up North too often, you can catch them with Indigenous, February 3, 2001, at the Electric Park Ballroom, in Waterloo IA.
For more information about this disc and the Chris Duarte Group, check out www.chrisduartegroupfans.org.
This review is copyright © 2001 by "Minnesota Max" Tomoson, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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