How many bands want to sound like rock legends Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Black Crowes? Pretty much all of them. But how many can actually pull it off? Very few. Count The Forte Band among those very few. Their secret? A lifelong passion for music. These guys are the real deal: child prodigies who have grown into successful industry professionals. They don't just try to emulate their heroes-they have the knowledge and chops to reproduce the sounds of rock's greats note-for-note, yet still bring a unique take to the tunes on their long and eclectic set list. Band leader, guitarist and vocalist Chris Forte is representative of the depth and breadth of experience possessed by The Forte Band. He began his musical career early as a ranked pianist in the state of Illinois, but Bach soon turned into rock as he picked up the guitar in his teens. Within a few years, Forte was writing and performing his original songs around the city, earning him a place on the Chicago's Finest Finger's list. After receiving a degree in Jazz Studies from Roosevelt University, Forte joined a musical group based in Florence, Italy and spent the next year playing all over Europe. Upon returning to the States, he quickly made a name for himself in the local rock and blues scene, winning the prestigious Albert King Award. This honor led to gigs with the legendary Memphis Horns and on the Jenny Jones Show, a memorable performance at the W.C. Handy Awards, and a tour that took him to more than 27 states, Canada and Holland. Today, Chris Forte is an ensemble director and instructor in guitar techniques and fusion rock guitar at Columbia College as well as teacher to a select group of serious private guitar students. Forte's incredible talent is rounded out by that of his equally gifted bandmates: Drummer Rob Davis is a long-time collaborator who, along with Chris, toured the U.S. with Sam Cockrell and The Groove for many years, playing high-profile gigs at the Chicago Blues Fest, Taste of Blue Ridge Festival, Indiana State Fair, House of Blues and WGN TV, as well as opening for wide-ranging acts like B.B. King, Digital Underground, Lonnie Brooks, Duke Robillard, Roomful of Blues and Trippin' Billies. Percussionist Michael Whalen was drummer for ex-Ziggy Marley member Melaku Retta in his African-fused reggae group Melaku and The African Elements for several years, and has also provided his percussive stylings to Chicago acts such as Frank Bang's Secret Stash, Telstar, The Cook County Jazz Commission and MHB. Bassist Tim O'Donnell has studied with Bill"The Buddah" Dickens (Ramsey Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder) and performed with guitarist Ricky Byrd (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts), drummer Carmine Appice (Ozzy Ozbourne, Rod Stewart, Vanilla Fudge),guitaristJeff Carlisi (38 Special), and musician/songwriter Jim Peterik (Survivor). The close relationship between these players is noticeable from the start of any show and is at the heart of their ability to deliver creative material that captures the audience's attention. Together, these impressive musicians have been rocking audiences around the Midwest for more than 6 years. High-energy rhythms, boundless guitar experimentation and charismatic stage presence define this powerful quartet. Fans rave about Forte's cool mix of high octane rock, eclectic original tunes and wild, ripping guitar riffs. Their impressive original material is supported by renditions of classic tunes from the rock legends who have influenced Forte, including: Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder and many more. The Forte Band is currently touring behind their first CD, Soul Farmer, and in pre-production on their second. They've opened for well-known acts such as The Radiators, Frank Black, Hello Dave, Cherry Poppin' Daddies and The Romantics. Mixing the familiar with the unexpected, The Forte Band never fails to bring down the house with a killer combination of songs the crowd already knows by heart and original tunes they'll remember long after the show is over. FORTE Reviews: After a couple years playing various blues festivals around the midwest, Chicago trio Forte finally released their debut disc, Soul Farmer. Their forte certainly is guitar-playing, as they gallivant through various riffs and bass lines that fuel the funk behind each song. The average vocals are significantly enhanced when the band let's their two female guests provide the sweet background harmonies, as heard on highlight "The Tomahawk." Given the obvious talent of all three members at their instruments and the promise shown in the song writing, Forte could forge quite a path. --Carter Moss, Around Hear, Illinois Entertainer Forte is a multidimensional, multicultural rock band. Spearheaded by guitarist, vocalist, composer Chris Forte and accompanied by Rob Davis on drums and Roberto Agosto on bass, this group features the most diverse lineup possible for a trio. That is way cool. These guys converse well. The group is based in Chicago. Chris and Rob played with Sam Cockrell for years touring blues festivals, playing the House of Blues and supporting acts like Duke Robillard and Roomful of Blues. Chris won the Albert King Award in 2000 for his guitar virtuosity. Roberto toured all over the world with Anthony Gomes for the last decade. They played the same bills as B.B. King, Buddy Guy and many more. So the musicians in Forte have "Blues credibility" but this new band is something else. Of course there's the solid blues foundation but Forte has forged their own new hybrid sound that incorporates rock and funk, probably best shown in their song The Tomahawk. This is a hot live act familiar with touring and playing well-known venues. Check 'em out when they come your way. --Jess Marich, CD Reviews, Shake Magazine, Nashville, TN The Buzz about Chris Forte: "Simply outstanding guitar playing of young Forte...a real talent." --Peter North, Live Music Reviews, Edmonton Journal, Edmonton, AB, Canada "Blazing guitar player" --Linda Seubold, Blues Scribe, Blues Foundation, Memphis, TN "Scorching lead guitar...best new blues guitarist" --Gerst, Ingram & Andries, contributing writers, Pioneer Press, North Shore, IL "Fiery guitar licks...full throttle performance" --Eric Schelkopf, Live Music Reviews, Kane County Chronicle, Kane County, IL "Forte plays with an easy-going grace that makes his high-wired leads and piercing runs look effortless...more impressive is the way this guitarist easily changes musical gears." --Dave Witter, Music Reviews, Buddy Guy's Bluesletter, Chicago, IL.
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