With the same signature blend of intelligence and whimsy heard on his innovative 2004 solo recording, American Vanity (CNM 003), and The Blueprint Project with Han Bennink's well-received 2007 release, People I Like (CNM 008), Boston-based guitarist/composer Eric Hofbauer's newest ensemble, The Infrared Band, explores his intermingling interests in wordplay, mythology and puzzles. The quartet released its debut CD, Myth Understanding (CNM 011) on June 17th, 2008.
If there's a single overarching ethos to the band it would be 'tell your story,' Hofbauer explains. All my compositions have a back story or theme and I encourage each player to add their own take on those stories and to play from personal experience. When I decided to put together a permanent lineup for the band, I handpicked tenor saxophonist Kelly Roberge (who, like me, studied at Oberlin with Don Walden), bassist Michael Montgomery (who was recommended by a mutual friend) and drummer Miki Matsuki (who I worked with in Charlie Kohlhase's band). There's no role playing, I compose to each of their strengths, featuring everyone and challenging their limits.
When musicians of this caliber explore their innermost selves, writes music journalist Ed Hazell in the Myth Understanding liner notes, using Eric's composition as the starting point and improvisation as the methodology, you can bet profound things are discovered — always in a playful spirit, of course