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Eric Hofbauer

“Eric Hofbauer has become a significant force in Boston’s improvised-music scene,” declares Stereophile’s David R. Adler. “His aesthetic evokes old blues, Americana, Tin Pan Alley, bebop, and further frontiers. There’s a rule-breaking spirit but also an impeccable rigor, a foundation of sheer chops and knowledge, that put Hofbauer in the top tier of guitarists,” he writes.

Hofbauer has been an integral member of Boston’s jazz scene as a musician, bandleader, organizer and educator for the past twenty five years. He has performed and recorded alongside such notable collaborators as Han Bennink, Roy Campbell, Jr., John Tchicai, Garrison Fewell, Cecil McBee, George Garzone, Sean Jones, John Fedchock, Steve Swell and Matt Wilson.

Hofbauer, recognized in the 2022, 2019 and 2017 DownBeat Critics’ Poll for Rising Star – Guitar, is perhaps best known for his solo guitar work featured in a trilogy of solo guitar recordings (American Vanity, American Fear and American Grace). Of the trilogy, Andrew Gilbert of The Boston Globe writes, “No other guitarist in jazz has developed a solo approach as rigorous, evocative, and thoughtful as Hofbauer. His 2016 solo release Ghost Frets, was described by Chris Haines of The Free Jazz Collective “as a real testament to Hofbauer’s musical style and vision…The playing is virtuosic throughout providing a real master class in creative solo performance.” 

The latest large-scale endeavor by Hofbauer is a five part series of original suites, each named after one of the elements (water, fire, wood, metal, and earth) featured in the Chinese philosophical construct known as Wu Xing. The first release, 2019's Book of Water, is a classic jazz-sextet lineup which Jerome Wilson of All About Jazz describes as "a thrilling ride that rolls, swirls and crashes like an elemental force. The horn players are exuberant, the rhythm section is buoyant and Hofbauer, whether carving out single notes like Derek Bailey or tossing off busy runs like Joe Morris, threads the music together. There is delicacy and power in equal measure on this excellent release, one of the best of the year so far." The second release in the series, 2020’s Book of Fire, was conceived in a duo format with Anthony Leva on upright bass. The duo’s acoustic performance is augmented by the addition of electronic instrumentation (MPC1000 drum machine and turntables) and the intertwined recordings of literary giant James Baldwin. The result is an intense amalgam of consonance and texture; tradition and innovation. Burning Ambulance’s Todd Manning describes the project in this way, “the virtuosity displayed by Eric Hofbauer is staggering at times, but his acumen as a composer is even more impressive. Despite the varied influences and elements at play, Book of Fire is both remarkably coherent yet sonically unpredictable.”

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AMERICAN GRACE: Eric Hofbauer has become a significant force in Boston’s improvised- music scene… His aesthetic evokes old blues, Americana, Tin Pan Alley, bebop, and further frontiers. There’s a rule-breaking spirit but also an impeccable rigor, a foundation of sheer chops and knowledge, that put Hofbauer in the top tier of plectrists. - David R. Adler, Stereophile American Grace mingles original Hofbauer compositions witha selection of covers judicious enough to rival the books of Brad Mehldeau and the Bad Plus… American Grace is an abundantly expressive and fully affecting guitar recording. - Jeff Tamarkin, JazzTimes 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…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. - Mark Corroto, All About Jazz American Grace (has) an ambiance that is a rare commodity in the world of modern jazz guitar. The kicker being Hofbauer transcends jazz and most any generic label most critics would insist he be placed under. Eric Hofbauer is an artist. (5 star review) - @CriticalJazz Guitarist Eric Hofbauer has created a masterful showcase with American Grace, a mix of folk, jazz, blues and rock styles. Or, perhaps best described as a deep exploration of American music. Unadorned and uninhibited, the acoustic guitar is recorded clearly, preserved in sonic crystal. -Paul Acquaro, The Free Jazz Collective What is striking, memorable, and sets this music apart is the originality and artistry of Eric the guitarist…It’s a tour de force in plectorial artistry. You need to hear it. Eric Hofbauer has it all going on here. -Grego Applegate, Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog LEVEL:

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Primary Instrument

Guitar

Location

Boston

Willing to teach

Advanced only

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Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Eine Quartett des...

Self Produced
2023

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The Tale of the...

Creative Nation Music
2020

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Book Of Water

Creative Nation Music
2019

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Remains of Echoes

Creative Nation Music
2019

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Prehistoric Jazz -...

Creative Nation Music
2014

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Prehistoric Jazz -...

Creative Nation Music
2014

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Bail Out Blues

From: American Fear
By Eric Hofbauer

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