Hanging around Austin, Texas juke joints when you should be attending high school has a way of rubbing off on a guy. While most of his friends were earning their driver's licenses, Chris Duarte was learning to operate a 1963 Fender Stratocaster, and now, almost three decades later, he sits at the right hand of Stevie Ray Vaughan in the pantheon of modern Texas blues.
But it was jazz that initially inspired Duarte. His love of Coltrane and virtuoso fusion guitarist John McLaughlin made him an eccentric when he started out as a sideman in boogie bands like Bobby Mack's Night Train. Combining the improv ethos of bop and jazz fusion with the blistering timbre of an electric guitar, Duarte creates raw and radically new portrayals of old-fashioned roadhouse blues.
Romp, released in 2003, is just the fourth studio album in the 14-year history of the Chris Duarte Group. Its low studio output speaks less of flagging creativity and more about the group's addiction to ceaseless touring, which has made its Cain-raising live show a legendary event. Hell, Duarte has even been known to play guitar until his fingers bleed.