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Javier Vargas-Biography

Javier Vargas-Biography

JAVIER VARGAS – BIOGRAPHY

Javier Vargas

“Javier Vargas” was born in Madrid shortly after his parents had moved back from Buenos Aires where they had migrated from some years before. Nine years later, the family returned to Argentina. That is when Javier took up the love for playing the guitar.
His first musical influences can be traced back to Argentine rock of the late 60’s and early 70’s, bands such as “Led Zeppelin”, “Black Sabbath”, “Cream”, “Rolling Stones”, “The Doors”, and musicians like “Jimi Hendrix”, “Carlos Santana”, “Albert Collins” or “B.B.King” became and remain a powerful source of inspiration.

In the 70’s, Javier decided to head to the U.S to study music. He lived in Nashville, Tennessee, and in Los Angeles, he played in clubs and took part in recordings as a session guitarist. Each night he played at jam sessions with American and English artists and met important musicians like “Alvin Lee”, “Roy Buchanan”, “Canned Heat”, who also influenced his style.

He returned to Spain in the end of the 70’s, joined “Miguel Rios’s” band and took part in several albums productions – “Los Viejos Rockeros Nunca Mueren”, “Rock and Roll Boomerang”, “Rock and Rios” – co-writing many songs such as “Un Caballo Llamado Muerte”, “Generación Límite” and “Nueva Ola”. He also played with “Orquesta Mondragón” and worked as session musician and composer.

In 1991 , after receiving immense attention and praise from the audience and fans the unique guitarist decided is was time to move his career towards a more challenging and higher level. He formed his own project: “Vargas Blues Band”.

“All Around Blues”, is the first album Javier Vargas recorded as the head of “Vargas Blues Band”, with collaborations of singers Elena Figueroa and Philip Guttman among many others.

In 1992, “Madrid-Memphis”, Javier’s second album, was released in collaboration with bluesmen “Carey Bell” and “Lousiana Red”, flamenco guitarist “Rafael Riqueni” and the vocalists “Philip Guttman” and “Jeff Espinoza”.

Both albums “All Around Blues” and “Madrid-Memphis” became widely popular and were sold as renowned blues records in Spain and Argentina.

In February 1994, “Blues Latino” is released with collaborations of “Flaco Jiménez”, “Chris Rea”, “Junior Wells” and “Andrés Calamaro”. The album received the attention of a global diverse audience. It was also released in Argentina and “Vargas Blues Band” played in Buenos Aires with a successful feedback.

Carlos Santana y Javier Vargas

Carlos Santana y Javier Vargas

The song “Blues Latino” was recorded by “Carlos Santana” and released worldwide on his album “Santana Brothers”. “Santana” also played “Blues Latino” at the revival festival of “Woodstock” in 1994.

In May 1995, “Texas Tango” was recorded at “Ardent Studios”, in Memphis and in Austin, Texas. It was produced by “Jim Gaines” in collaboration with “Double Trouble”, “Stevie Ray Vaughan’s” band, “Larry T. Thurston” (The Blues Brothers) and “Preston Shannon”. The album was released in Spain, France, Switzerland, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil.

In 1996, the “Vargas Blues Band” plays live in Paris, at festivals in France and Portugal and at the legendary “Montreux Jazz Festival” in Switzerland. In July, Javier is invited by Carlos Santana to play two songs together at “Le Zénith” in Paris. The combined passion transmitted by both guitarists on one stage performing together drove the audience wild. The invitation was repeated in 1998 when “Santana” played in Madrid at “Conde Duque”, in Paris at “Bercy” and during his “Supernatural” tour in Spain.

“Gipsy Boogie”, the fifth “Vargas Blues Band” album, was recorded in Madrid and Memphis, one more with producer Jim Gaines. It was mixed in Florida and mastered in New York, with collaborations of “Raimundo Amador”, “Carles Benavent”, “La Chonchi”, the Cuban singer “David Montes”, “Chester Thomson”, “Lonnie Brooks”, “Larry McCray”, “Little Jimmy King”, “David Allen” and “Larry Graham” (former “Sly & The Family Stone” member). The album, was released in 24 countries, received a nomination from “Premios Amigo” and toured in France, Italy, Germany and Portugal.

In December 1998, “Larry Graham”, then musical director of “The Artist’s” band; “The New Power Generation”, introduced “Javier Vargas” to “The Artist formerly known as Prince”, who invited Javier to play alongside him and his band on several songs at his concert “Jam of the Year”, at “Palacio de los Deportes” in Madrid.

“Feedback/Bluestrology”, the sixth album was released as a double CD in 1998. It was recorded in “Checkendon”, England, co-produced by “Ian Taylor” (Gary Moore’s producer) with his usual Memphis team of collaborators: “Steve Potts”, “Dave Smith” and “Ernest Willianson” and the band’s vocalists “Bobby Alexander” and “David Montes”. “Bluestrology” was also issued as a separate album at the beginning of the year 2000.


Vargas Blues Band-Feedback

Bluestrology

 

In November 1999, Vargas Blues Band travelled to the U.S to record their first live album at the “Buddy Guy´s Legends” in Chicago, with guest performances by “Larry McCray”, harmonica musician “Sugar Blue” and flamenco singer “Elena Andújar”. The concert was recorded by a mobile unit and supervised by “Ian Taylor” (producer and sound engineer of artists such as Alice Cooper, Bob Dylan). Texan guitarist “Chris Duarte” invited Javier to perform live on stage at the “Legends” show. In December of 1999 the recording was completed at “Kirios Studios”, in Madrid, with outstanding guest performances by singers “Elena Andújar”, “David Montes”, flamenco guitarist “Juan Gómez” “Chicuelo”, percussion by “Gino Pavone”, Argentine bandoneon player “Jorge Lema”, and the ‘cantaor’“Marchena”, David “Lads” Sánchez on the keyboards, “Jota Marsán” on drums, “Fran Montero” on bass and “Ian Taylor” again in charge of the recordings and the sound engineering. The record “Madrid-Chicago Live” and the video of the ‘making of’ were released in May 2000.
“Last Night” includes all the songs recorded at the “Legend´s” and a DVD of the Madrid concert with some sequences recorded in Chicago. It was edited in 2002, and it has received excellent reviews in Spain as well as in Europe and the U.S.

In 2002 Javier reunites his Argentinian and Spanish roots and records: “JAVIER VARGAS & ESPIRITU CELESTE, TRIBUTO AL ROCK ARGENTINO”. The album brings together the musical experiences he experienced during his years in Argentina and the influence of great local Spanish musicians such as “Litto Nebbia”, “Pappo,” “Claudio Gabis” and “Luis Alberto Spinetta”. The album includes 16 versions of great Argentine rock classics such as “Avellaneda Blues”, “El Tren de las 16”, “Mr. Jones” and “La Balsa”, with guest performances by “Litto Nebbia” himself, goal-keeper musician German “Mono” Burgos, and “Luis Mayol”, on vocals and bass.

“Chill Latin Blues”, is the first instrumental album entirely highlighting Javier’s prominent guitar sound and playing. In November 2003, the live concert at the “Oasis” in Zaragoza is recorded and released as the second instrumental album “Spanish Fly”. The quality of the recording inspired the record company “Dro East West” to release a DVD with a choice of fourteen songs from the regular repertoire of the band, two new songs and versions of “Fleetwood Mac’s” “Albatross” and “John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers” “Steppin’ Stones”.

In the beginning of 2004, “El Alma”, a CD-booklet compilation, was released by “DRO East West” as a special edition of their most important artists. Also in 2004, “Vargas” begins recording “LOVE, UNION, PEACE” at “Ardent Studios” in Memphis, where he had recorded “Texas Tango”. Amongst other he hires “John Hampton” as sound engineer (ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, R.E.M., Soundgarden) and guest performers “Glenn Hughes” (Deep Purple), “Jack Bruce” (Cream), “Alex Ligertwood” (ex cantante de Santana), “Elliot Murphy”, “Jaime Urrutia”, flamenco guitarist “Juan Gómez “Chicuelo”, and “Devon Allman”.

The album, was released in March 2005, and includes thirteen new songs and a more ‘rock’ feel to it, loaded with good vibes. Some of the most popular songs are “Tiny Paradise”, “Dance Away the Blues”, “Magic of the Gods”, or “How Verso Are You”, which was the theme music for the “Toyota Verso” campaign. A later edition included a DVD.

The “Vargas Blues Band’s” international reputation and popularity increased with their tours in 2006 and 2007 rocking the stages in Canada, Norway, Germany and the U.K. Additionally taking part at prestigious festivals such as “Mont-Trêmblant Blues Festival” (Montreal-Canada) and “Fête du Lac des Nations”, in Sherbrooke (Canadá), playing alongside “Credence Clearwater Revisited” at the “Notodden Blues Festival” (Norway) and performing with epic blues singers and guitarists “Gary Moore”, “Johnny Winter” and Jeff Healey”.

Album no 16, “LOST & FOUND”, was released in 2007. The CD includes 12 songs three of which are sung by “Devon Allman”, plus a DVD with two hours’ worth of videoclips and live material from the European and Canadian tours. Some of the most celebrated songs are “Get Funky”, “Man on the Run”, “Open your Eyes”, “Lost & Found” (the album title song) and a version of “Derek and the Dominos” song “Layla”, sung by Devon.

Raimundo Amador y Javier Vargas

Javier Vargas” released “FLAMENCO BLUES EXPERIENCE” in 2008. The special album mixes Blues and Rock together with Flamenco, showing the crossbreeding of music styles that characterise “Javier Vargas” playing. It was recorded at “Ardent Studios” in Memphis, with sound engineer “John Hampton” and “Jason Latshaw” in charge of the mixes and the sleeve design by prestigious graphic designer “Bob Masse”. Hired guest artists were Canadian guitarist “Frank Marino”, “Devon Allman”, “Raimundo Amador”, “Steve Potts”, “David Smith”, “Mauri Sanchís”, “Rey Morao” and “The Cherry Boppers”, vocals by “Devon Allman”, “Tim Mitchell” and “Bobby Alexander”. It includes eleven songs like “Walking the Streets”, “Beautiful Woman”, “Blues para Lucia”, “Tierra del Vino” and “No pasa nada”.

In June 2009 “VARGAS BLUES BAND, COMES ALIVE WITH FRIENDS” was released. This album includes a DVD and a CD, in a Digipack, including a live recording of the live concert at “Sala Breogain” in Vigo on 20th December 2008, with “Henry Sarmiento” in charge of technical control, and guest appearances by “Devon Allman”, “Raimundo Amador”, “Claudio Gabis”, “Jorge Salan” and “Álvaro Tarquino “Chevere”, and with the new “Vargas Blues Band” members: “Tim Mitchell” on vocals, “Luis Mayol” on bass and vocals, “Peter Kunst” on drums, with “Javier Vargas” remaining as band leader and guitarist. On the new album, Javier and his band prove their strength as live in one single take without using additional overdubs. The DVD includes twenty and the CD fourteen song. The album’s title track is “Neil Young’s”, “Down By The River”, sung by “Devon Allman”. Other songs are “Get Away With Murder”, “Blues In My Soul”, “Wild West Blues” and “Mojo Hand”.

“Vargas Blues Band” spent the autumn and winter of 2009 and the whole of 2010 touring in Spain and Europe to promote the new album. Simultaneously, in the beginning of 2010, “Javier Vargas” started the tour “LIVE GUITAR NIGHT 2010” with “Jorge Salan”, a brave bid of two of the best Spanish guitarists at the time.

In May 2010, a new Studio album, “MOJO PROTECTION REVISITED”, was released. This is a revision of the album edited in Argentina in 2008 under the name “MOJO PROTECTION”, and it also includes new songs by “Tim Mitchell” and Javier like “Talking About the Blues”, “You Got Me”, “Passion Blues”, or “Mojo Protection”, recorded with the latest members of the band: Javier, Tim, Luis Mayol (bass) and Peter Kunst (drums).

Javier started a new Project called “VARGAS, BOGERT & APPICE” also known under the short name of “VBA” in March 2011. Javier travelled to “Las Vegas” to record alongside legendary drummer and songwriter “Carmine Appice”, bassist “Tim Bogert”, both former “Vanilla Fudge”, “Cactus”, “Jeff Beck”, “King Cobra” band members, and with singer “Paul Shortino”, former band member of “Rough Cutt” and “Quiet Riot”. This is an album uses different classic Rock and R&B versions mashing them up with a bit of a new twisting sounds. The album was recorded at “Hit Track Studios” in Las Vegas and mixed at “Ardent Studios”, in Memphis with sound engineer “Brad Blackwood”. It was released in June 2011 and was released internationally by “Warner” as a CD with a special DVD of a live wired European tour in 2010 of “Vargas Blues Band” and also including the “Making OF” of the VBA; Vargas, Bogert, Appice and Shortino album.

Over 30 studio recordings and eight platinum albums, international tours and performances with the greatest; In almost three decades of his career, Javier Vargas has earned the merit of being a living legend on the electric guitar as well as in his homeland of Spain as across the globe. But far from standing still, he continues to progress; After publishing ‘King of The Latin Blues’ in 2018 and ‘Move On’  in 2019 – of the Vargas & Jagger project -, he now returns with his Vargas Blues Band album ‘Del Sur’, an album consisting of 12 touching tunes. ‘Del Sur’ is one of the most successful songs in the career of this guitarist and therefore he chose this name for the title of his brand new first-ever instrumental album. On this collection he blends his distinctive blues guitar playing with the Latin touches of Spanish acoustic guitarist Juan Gómez ‘Chicuelo’ recreating an individual yet equally beautiful version of ‘Del Sur’. Apart from Southern root characeristics, one can recognise an intense latin blues influence on songs like ‘Spanish Wine’ which is set to be the first single from the album that is to become in every bit a classic epic alongside his songs ‘Blues Latino’ and ‘Buenos Aires Blues’. In a nutshell, this new project of Javier Vargas displays remarkable tasteful music and amazing melodies put together in 12 masterfully handcrafted songs, filled and sealed off with the acclaimed mythical nuances for which this bluesman guitarist stands for. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Discography:
All Around Blues (1991)
Madrid-Memphis (1992)
Blues Latino (1994)
Texas Tango (1995)
Gipsy Boogie (1997)
Feedback (1998)
Bluestrology (1998) y (2000)
Madrid-Chicago Live (1999)
The Best of… Vargas Blues Band (2001)
Last Night VBB (2002)
Espíritu Celeste (Tributo al Rock Argentino) (2002)
Chill Latin Blues (2003)
El Alma (2003)
Spanish Fly (live at club Nokia) (2003)
Love, Union, Peace (2004)
Lost & Found (2007)
Mojo Protection (2008)
Flamenco Blues Experience (2008)
Vargas Blues Band, Comes Alive with Friends (2009)
Mojo Protection Revisited (2010)
Vargas, Bogert & Appice (feat. Shortino) + Live Wire (BONUS CD) (2011)
Vargas Blues Band & Company (2012)
Heavy City Blues (2013)
From the dark (2014)
Hard Time Blues (2016)
Cambalache & Bronca (2017)
King of Latin Blues (2018)
Vargas&Jagger “Move On” (2018)
Vargas Blues Band & Company (2012)
Heavy City Blues (2013)
From the dark (2014)
Hard Time Blues (2016)
Cambalache & Bronca (2017)
King of Latin Blues (2018)
Vargas&Jagger “Move On” (2018)
Vargas blues band “Del Sur”2020
Jessy Howe “Magic Waters” EP 2020

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