Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

298

Bob DeVos: Playing for Keeps

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
There are few lovelier sounds in music than a guitar that is played correctly, and by that I mean with warmth and sensitivity, even though I couldn't single out one guitarist from another even under threat of waterboarding. All that's really necessary, though, is to know who can play, and Bob DeVos raises no doubt about that. Logically and aesthetically, he's squarely on the mark.

DeVos, who toured and performed early on with such legendary organists as Richard "Groove Holmes, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff and Charles Earland, has patterned his close-knit guitar/organ/drums combo after the classic Grant Green/Larry Young/Elvin Jones threesome of the 1960s. Dan Kostelnik and Steve Johns have supplanted Young and Jones, and like their celebrated prototypes, they know how to swing in any framework from blues to ballad to burner. To ice the cake, DeVos has enlisted the services of another frequent collaborator, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, who adds variety and muscle on four tracks.

DeVos' sound is smooth and mellow, what one might call laid-back, and his keen improvisations flow as easily as water from a tap. Kostelnik has his moments too, while he and Johns see to it that the rhythmic engine never falters. As for Alexander, he affirms with each new album—and he has appeared on close to a hundred—why he is one of my favorite young tenor players (even though he indulges in some atypical acrobatics on Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance ).

"Dance is one of four jazz standards on the menu, the others being John Coltrane's "Naima, Thelonious Monk's "Ask Me Now and McCoy Tyner's "Blues on the Corner. Completing the session are four originals by DeVos (including "Wes Is More, his homage to guitarist Wes Montgomery) and the standards "So In Love and "Body and Soul. Besides "Dance, Alexander shines on "Body and Soul, "Wes Is More and DeVos' soul-splashed curtain-raiser, "And So It Goes.

But this is DeVos' domain, and his amiable guitar is the hub around which everything revolves. Even though I couldn't pick him out of a lineup, it's a pleasure to hear DeVos Playing for Keeps, especially when inspired by such accomplished teammates as Kostelnik, Johns and Alexander. A splendid session, well worth checking out.


Track Listing: And So It Goes; Naima; Pause For Fred

Personnel: Bob DeVos: guitar; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone (1, 5, 8, 10); Dan Kostelnik: Hammond B-3 organ; Steve Johns: drums.

Title: Playing For Keeps | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Savant Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Random Acts of Order" CD/LP/Track Review Random Acts of Order
by John Sharpe
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Triple Double" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by John Sharpe
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "My Head is Listening" CD/LP/Track Review My Head is Listening
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Solid Gold" CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Love Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "The Last Sense To Leave Us – A Tribute To Pauline Oliveros" CD/LP/Track Review The Last Sense To Leave Us – A Tribute To Pauline...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 10, 2017