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Chris Cain Teams The Blues With Jazz

Internationally known guitarist Chris Cain bridges the Blues and Jazz - solid proof of the close relationship between the two genres.

Music critic Larry Nager says this of Cain: "Nowadays most young blues players are Strat-wielding Stevie Ray Vaughan-a-bes. Not Chris Cain. With a voice that recalls B.B. King and a thick toned Gibson guitar sound reminiscent of Albert King, Cain is forging a unique style."

With a Greek mother and an African-American father, it is no surprise that Cain is comfortable in the space between two worlds. Growing up surrounded by mostly Blues music it was beyond his home that his music sensibilities developed. Of his childhood Cain says, "I remember when I was a kid, my Dad would be mowing the lawn with the stereo blasting Muddy Waters. When I look back, that was pretty cool! There was always music playing at our house, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King, all the greats."

His father raised him on stories of his own childhood on Memphis' Historic Beale Street. He took Cain to his first B.B King concert at the age of three. When he was eight, Cain taught himself to play guitar and by 18 was playing professionally in clubs and at local festivals. He studied music at San Jose City College, and taught Jazz improvisation. Along with guitar he learned piano, bass guitar, clarinet, and alto and tenor saxophone.

It was that Jazz education that melded with his Blues tinged childhood that led to his fusion guitar style.

Cain's debut recording, Late Night City Blues resulted in four W.C. Handy Blues Award nominations, including Guitarist of the Year. More albums have followed and his concert schedule qualifies him as a true force in the Blues. Music reviewer John Orr writes, "more than anyone else, anywhere, Chris Cain represents the future of the blues."

I'm sure that future will be worth following.

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