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Javier Vargas

Vargas Blues Band

 

 

 

 

Javier Vargas was born in Madrid. When he was nine years old, he and his family moved to Argentina, where his parents had lived during the Spanish Civil War. They lived in Mendoza, San Luis, Buenos Aires and also in Mar del Plata, where he started playing the guitar with young musicians in places such as garages. He took guitar lessons, and he also used to go clubs to listen to groups playing blues live.

 

Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Cream, Rolling Stones, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix etc. became famous and influenced by all this new and amazing music, he decided to play guitar professionally. He was also inspired by the American Blues of B.B.King, Albert King, Freddy King, Albert Collins...

When his family moved to Venezuela in the 70´s, he took his guitar and went to the U.S.A. to improve his guitar knowledge at University.

 

He lived in Nashville, Tennessee, and in Los Angeles, where he played in clubs, and also worked as a session guitar player. Every night he used to jam with American and English musicians: he met Alvin Lee, Roy Buchanan, Cannet Heat and many others from whom learnt a lot.

 

When he returned to Spain he played the guitar with many successful Spanish musicians such as Miguel Rios and “La Orquesta Mondragón”, and collaborated as a session guitar player and composer with many musicians and bands.

 

In 1991 he went his own way, and formed the Vargas Blues Band.

 

 

VARGAS BLUES BAND

 

All Around Blues is the first album of the Vargas Blues Band, edited in 1991. It has collaborators such as Elena Figueroa and Phillip Guttman.

The second LP, Madrid-Memphis, was edited in 1992 and includes collaborations of blues men such as Carey Bell and Louisiana Red, the flamenco guitar player Rafael Riqueni, and the singers Philip Guttman and Jeff Espinoza

 

These two albums enjoyed continued enthusiastic support in the Spanish musical scene reaching the highest sales figure of any blues album.

The third album, Blues Latino, was released in Spain in 1994.

 

The extra instrumental support came courtesy of international artists: Chris Rea, Junior Wells, Flaco Jiménez and Andrés Calamaro.

 

The album “Santana Brothers” was released worldwide, including the song “Blues Latino” by Javier Vargas. Carlos Santana played this song in Woodstock 1994.

 

In October this year, the Band appeared for the first time in Buenos Aires (Argentina) having great success.

 

Their fourth album Texas Tango, was produced in Austin and Memphis (USA) by Jim Gaines. This album was released in various countries at the end of 1995, and includes collaborations with Double Trouble, (Steve Ray Vaughan Band) Larry T. Thurston and Preston Shannon, among others.

In 1996, they played live in Paris with great success.

 

They also performed in various festivals around France and Portugal and at “Montreux Jazz Festival” in Switzerland.

 

In July of this year, Carlos Santana invited him to play two songs together in the concert held at the Zenith, in Paris. The passion and feeling of the guitar duo got the capacity crowd on their feet.

 

In 1998, Santana invited again Vargas and this time with his Cuban singer David Montes to play in his concerts in Madrid and Paris (Bercy). This experience was repeated in Spain, where Vargas played as a guest of Carlos Santana in his opening tour of “Supernatural” in 2000 .

 

In 1997 his fifth album Gypsy Boogie was released. The album was recorded in Madrid and Memphis, mixed in Florida and mastered in New York. Flamenco artists such as Raimundo Amador, Carles Benavent, La Chonchi and the Cuban singer David Montes collaborated in the recording.

 

In Memphis Blues-soul-rock artists collaborated such as:

Chester Thomson, Loonie Brooks, Larry McCray, Little Jimmy King, David Allen and Larry Graham.

 

Jim Gaines produced the album.

 

Larry Graham introduced Javier to The Artist -previously known as Prince-, who invited him to play in a jam session at his concert during the tour “Jam of the Year” in Spain in December 1998.

 

The sixth album, Feedback/ Bluestrology (1998) was recorded at Hook End studios in Checkendom (England), and co-produced by Ian Taylor (Gary Moore, Cheaptrick producer etc). This album includes the old collaborators from Memphis: Steve Potts, Dave Smith and Ernest Willimanson and the former singers of the Band, Bobby Alexander and David Montes.

 

Bluestrology was re-released as a solo album in January 2000.

 

Vargas Blues Band’s first USA live appearance took place in November 1999. There were two nights to remember at Buddy Guy’s Legends Club in Chicago.

 

The special guest artists were Larry McCray, Sugar Blue and flamenco singer Elena Andújar. A mobile unit under Ian Taylor´s supervision recorded the sessions.

 

Javier Vargas was invited by the guitar hero from Texas, Chris Duarte to join in his concert, also at Legends.

 

This Live album was completed in Madrid last December 99. The concert was filmed and recorded in a studio in the presence of a limited guest audience. In this session we saw Vargas playing together with guest artists such as flamenco singer Elena Andújar, flamenco guitarist Juan Gómez “Chicuelo”, Argentinean bandoneonist Jorge Lema, percussionist Gino Pavone and flamenco singer “Marchena”. Ian Taylor also directed the recording.

Madrid-Chicago Live was released in May 2000.

 

Chill Latin Blues, Vargas Blues band first solely instrumental album, was released in 2003. In this album the protagonists are Javier Vargas‚ guitar and the fusion of his musical influences: Drum & Bass, Acid Jazz,African & Latin Rythms, Hip-Hop, Spanish Guitar…

 

During a visit to Madrid, Carlos Santana made the following comments on Javier´s unique capacity to blend different styles:

 

"VARGAS is like a rainbow, he contains all the colours, he feels the same passion as I do when it comes to embracing the music of the world... not just Spanish music or blues. He has a positive, fruitful and brilliant future ahead. There are very few musicians who can reach out to everybody..."

 

The album includes five songs already recorded in other albums together with nine brand new songs.

 

 

In September 2004, Javier Vargas flew back to Memphis with a new project ready to be recorded. The chosen studio was Ardent, sound engineer John Hampton, and the “A-Team” of Tennessee musicians: Steve Potts on drums, David Smith playing bass, Earnest Williamson on keyboards, and the SRV´s Double Trouble´s Reese Wynans performing on keyboards and piano as the master he is.

Overdubs were recorded in Madrid, Los Angeles, Memphis and Isla de La Palma (Canary Islands): trips made to include many great musicians. Listeners will enjoy hearing Alex Ligertwood (vocalist of Santana for almost 14 years) performing two songs in “Love Union Peace”; Jack Bruce singing and playing bass in “Pretty Blue” ; Glenn Hughes' awesome performance of a delicious “Sad Eyes” ; Devon Allman (Greg´s son and genuine heir of the soul of his father's voice) sharing his huge talent in three songs; Elliott Murphy´s strenght in “Deep Blue”, and many big Spanish artists.

 

Love, Union, Peace was release last March 2005. The album is all feeling, and includes 10 new songs, a powerful version of the previously recorded “Magic of the Gods” now performed by Devon Allman, and a delightful instrumental version of Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello´s “God Give me Strength”.

 

The Vargas Blues Band has been playing in Europe in renowned Montreaux Jazz Festival and Pop Korn Festival (Germany), The Great Brithish R&B Festival, Antwerp R& B Festival, etc, touring in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, and Argentina always with great success.

 

The huge diversity of their musical influences (Rock, Soul, Flamenco, Latin music...) and the power of their tunes fulfil all the requirements to charm all kinds of audiences.

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