All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

12

Eric Hofbauer: American Grace

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
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 Altoids box gives him the dobro sound of a slide guitar on Blind Willie Johnson's blues, "God Moves On the Water." Elsewhere the crackle old vinyl is the introduction to Lennon/McCartney's "Dear Prudence," which he then takes through folk and jazz accents. Like his previous solo discs, the music is presented as outwardly simple, but crammed full of ideas and extended techniques.

Hofbauer plays the guitar like Derek Bailey, if Derek Bailey happened to be born in Mississippi instead of Sheffield England. He chisels sounds both primitive and modern, sometimes simultaneously. The percussive tapping of "Beat the Drum" gives way to a sympathetic and tender rendition of the singer Cyndi Lauper hit "True Colors," while saxophonist Ornette Coleman's "Peace" is stripped down to a doleful stroll.

In his hands, a guitar can reconfigure "West End Blues" as free jazz or morph Sammy Cahn's classic "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry" into a devotional melody. Hofbauer reconfigures melodies as if he were a modern primitive, discovering these methods of music-making afresh.

Track Listing: Kid Justice; Dear Prudence; American Incantation; West End Blues; Beat The Drum; True Colors; Mileage; Cheer Up, Charlie; In Memoriam; Pocket Chops; God Moves On The Water; New American Psalm; Peace; Today, All Day; Stella By Starlight; Ghost In The Machine; Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry; And So It Goes; Idumea (And Am I Born To Die?).

Personnel: Eric Hofbauer: guitar.

Title: American Grace | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Creative Nation Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Bail Out Blues

Bail Out Blues

Eric Hofbauer
American Fear

BA-DEE Image

BA-DEE Image

Eric Hofbauer
American Vanity

Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Prehistoric Jazz - Volume 1

Prehistoric Jazz -...

Creative Nation Music
2014

buy
Prehistoric Jazz - Volume 2

Prehistoric Jazz -...

Creative Nation Music
2014

buy
American Grace

American Grace

Creative Nation Music
2013

buy
 

American Fear

Creative Nation Music
2011

buy
Level

Level

Creative Nation Music
2011

buy
Eric Hofbauer: American Fear!

Eric Hofbauer:...

Creative Nation Music
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Love Wins CD/LP/Track Review
Love Wins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 19, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Mutt Slang CD/LP/Track Review
Mutt Slang
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Prisma CD/LP/Track Review
Prisma
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Cycles of Animation" CD/LP/Track Review Cycles of Animation
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: December 24, 2017
Read "Combsy" CD/LP/Track Review Combsy
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "Works for Two Chapels" CD/LP/Track Review Works for Two Chapels
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "Toot Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Toot Suite
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983" CD/LP/Track Review In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "At This Time: Duets" CD/LP/Track Review At This Time: Duets
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 6, 2017