Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

137

Eric Hofbauer and The Infrared Band: Level

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
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 which pulses with the extraordinary depth of empathetic interplay that clearly comes quite naturally to these players.

That quality is enhanced by their individuality. Hofbauer avoids the customary modern jazz guitar vocabulary, just like he's always done. His work on "Murder For A Jar Of Red Rum" is that of a man for whom mere technical display smacks of no more than empty gestures, while tenor saxophonist Kelly Roberge embodies the playful spirit which is never far from the heart of the music. This is confirmed by the eerie way in which the piece is resolved, which, while it mirrors the opening passage, still highlights a band with no agenda other than that of making highly distinctive music.

The band goes effortlessly about the task of laying out unaccustomed territory on the lengthy "Surely Some Revelation," the opening passage confounding expectations until repeated listening renders obvious the quartet's highly persuasive logic. This is true even when the music settles into a generic post-bop groove, especially as that breaks down for Hofbauer to turn in an oblique, ear-pricking solo over Miki Matsuki's drums, where the influence of Ed Blackwell is noticeable, albeit obliquely.

With any luck, it won't be another three years for this quartet's next release, although it's entirely up to the individuals concerned as to what happens next. They can, it seems, effortlessly raise the bar with every release, so it'll be worth waiting for no matter how long it takes.

Track Listing: These Two Things; La Ligne De Chance; Castor And Pollux; The Faction; Murder For A Jar Of Red Rum; Surely Some Revelation; Spy Vs. Spy; Ghosts And Giants; Pocket Chops.

Personnel: Kelly Roberge: tenor sax; Eric Hofbauer: guitar; Sean Farias: bass; Miki Matsuki: drums.

Title: Level | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Creative Nation Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

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
Date Detail Price
Dec22Sat
20:00
Dylan Jack Quartet
The Hearing Room
Lowell, MA
$5.00
Jan3Thu
20:00
Eric Hofbauer And Dylan Jack Duo
Aeronaut Brewery
Somerville, MA
Jan23Wed
19:30
Dylan Jack Quartet
Lilypad
Cambridge, MA
$10

Related Articles

Read Everything's OK CD/LP/Track Review
Everything's OK
by Doug Collette
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Making Bones, Taking Draughts, Bearing Unstable Millstones Pridefully, Idiotically, Prosaically CD/LP/Track Review
Making Bones, Taking Draughts, Bearing Unstable Millstones...
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Legacy CD/LP/Track Review
Legacy
by Doug Collette
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Other Life Forms CD/LP/Track Review
Other Life Forms
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Live At Moods CD/LP/Track Review
Live At Moods
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read "Where The River Goes" CD/LP/Track Review Where The River Goes
by Matt Hooke
Published: November 5, 2018
Read "Echo of a Heartbeat" CD/LP/Track Review Echo of a Heartbeat
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 6, 2018
Read "New Life" CD/LP/Track Review New Life
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 30, 2018
Read "Tipping My Hat To Leonard" CD/LP/Track Review Tipping My Hat To Leonard
by Paul Naser
Published: July 3, 2018
Read "World Domination Vol 1: Furie" CD/LP/Track Review World Domination Vol 1: Furie
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 20, 2018
Read "While We Still Have Bodies" CD/LP/Track Review While We Still Have Bodies
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 14, 2018