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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Hofbauer: American Grace

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Origami or balloon animals, it is always interesting what a solo artist can do with his bare hands. Same for a gifted guitarist like Eric Hofbauer, whose American Grace completes a trilogy of solo recordings that began with American Vanity (Creative Nation, 2004), and was followed by American Fear! (Creative Nation, 2010). In these three outing, he has mined the nation's post- 9/11 psyche via pop tunes, jazz, blues, and instant composing.Although a jazz educator and graduate of Oberlin and New England Conservatory, Hofbauer sometimes plays his guitar here as if he is a self-taught outsider artist. An ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Eric Hofbauer

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Meet Eric Hofbauer: Known as “a crucial instigator in Boston's DIY avant-jazz scene" (Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix), Eric Hofbauer has been one of the city's most active musicians and organizers for the past decade. When not documenting his own distinctive approach as a solo guitarist, or leading his working quartet, The Infrared Band, he is performing and recording with such ensembles as the Garrison Fewell/Eric Hofbauer Duo, BOLT (featuring Jorrit Dijkstra and Eric Rosenthal), Karayorgis/Hofbauer/William/Gray and Charlie Kohlhase's Explorer's Club. He is also a 2009 recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Music Composition, and a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Hofbauer and The Infrared Band: Level

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Back in 2008 this band--the only change here being bassist Sean Farias in for Michael Montgomery--produced one of the best albums of that year. In 2011, they've gone and done it again. Like Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols and Andrew Hill, guitarist Eric Hofbauer's music benefits enormously from having the right musicians to bring it to fruition, and in this instance he's blessed. His quartet effortlessly avoids all the well-established tropes; on “La Ligne De Chance," it brings the lack of rhetoric in Hofbauer's music to light, too. Lacking grand gestures as it does, this is a piece ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Hofbauer: Eric Hofbauer: American Fear!

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With American Fear!, creative guitarist Eric Hofbauer once again exposes his funny bone, effectively demonstrating that jazz and humor are not mutually exclusive. Like American Vanity (Creative Nation, 2002), this is a solo guitar effort mixing unusual covers with quirky originals, all delivered with the Boston-based artist's extroverted minimalism. There are no disposable notes in this suite of vignettes, each track a meditation on the various ramifications of fear, whether from childhood ("Monsters Under the Bed"), adolescent angst (Nirvana's “Smells Like Teen Spirit"), recession-era depression ("Bailout Blues") or general ennui ("Broke Down...Breakdown," the only overdubbed track). Although ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Hofbauer: American Fear

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Boston, Massachusetts is truly blessed in having Eric Hofbauer as a member of its improvised music community. Over the course of successive releases he has proved himself to be one of the great original voices and this solo guitar recital proves it in spades. He seemingly and effortlessly has forged a highly individual instrumental vocabulary and this, allied with a harmonic sense that's by turns sly and steeped in wit, is one of the hallmarks of his work.

He sets out his stall from the off in making something of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World." In the hands of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Hofbauer & the Infrared Band: Myth Understanding

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Guitarist Hofbauer is a working definition of what it means to be respectful of the nebulous thing that is the tradition without treating it as though it's worthy only of reverence. It shows with this group just as much as it does in his work as a member of the Blueprint Project.

The music here is shot through with quirks so skillfully played that they seem integral to the success of its realization. There is for example, nothing even remotely self-conscious about “A Drunk Monk," wherein a line is seemingly subject to infinite variations and shadings making for deeply organic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Hofbauer & The Infrared Band: Myth Understanding

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A fixture on the Boston jazz scene for the past decade, guitarist Eric Hofbauer has collaborated with a multitude of artists, from guitarist Garrison Fewell and multi-reedist Charlie Kohlhase to legendary Dutch drummer Han Bennink (in the international collective, The Blueprint Project).

As co-founder of Creative Nation Music (with trombonist Chris Allen), Hofbauer has released a handful of adventurous independent recordings since 2004. Myth Understanding documents his latest project, The Infrared Band, a close-knit group that features tenor saxophonist Kelly Roberge, bassist Michael Montgomery and drummer Miki Matsuki.

A jazz history and guitar teacher with a ...



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