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Duarte was born in San Antonio, Texas, and was first inspired by music at age 8 after seeing Fiddler On The Roof on television. Duarte first began playing on his brother's guitar and then obtained his own electric guitar at the age of 14. In 1979, Duarte moved to Austin, Texas, and purchased a 1963 Fender Stratocaster guitar for $500 and began exploring various genres including 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. 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 US dates in recent years with the Japanese band Bluestone Company backing him, he performs primarily as a power trio billed as 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 Dustin Sargent on bass and John McKnight on drums.
Duarte's concert dates in Asheville, North Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Greenville, South Carolina; were filmed for the PBS television show, The PBS Project, and featured Steve Bailey on bass and Jeff Sipe on drums.
Select album discography
- 1987: Chris Duarte & The Bad Boys (SRS)
- 1994: Texas Sugar/Strat Magik (Silvertone)
- 1997: Tailspin Headwhack (Silvertone)
- 2000: Love Is Greater Than Me (Zoë/Rounder)
- 2003: Romp (Zoë/Rounder)
- 2007: Blue Velocity (Blues Bureau International)
- 2008: Vantage Point (Blues Bureau International)
- 2009: Chris Duarte & Bluestone Co. (Blues Bureau International)
- 2009: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, All Things Blue (Blues Bureau International)
- 2010: Infinite Energy (Janblues)
- 2011: Blues In The Afterburner (Shrapnel)
- 2013: My Soul Alone (Shrapnel)
- 2013: Live (Blues Bureau International)
- 2014: Lucky 13
- The Total Guitar CD Volume 6, May, 1995, Total Guitar TOTGUIVOL6
- Axplorations June, 2006, Hal Leonard Corporation
- Chris Duarte Group Fans
- Chris Duarte at AllMusic
- Chris Duarte early years
- Chris Duarte Group fan forum
- Chris Duarte interview with A1 Blues
- Chris Duarte collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive