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Bob DeVos: Shifting Sands

Elliott Simon By

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It is old news that the classic B-3 guitar trio is back. What is news though are the inventive explorations happening in the genre—and Shifting Sands, the latest from guitarist Bob DeVos, is one such delight. DeVos meshes his teeming tone with the chordal subtleties of organist Dan Kostelnik and wide-open feeling of drummer Steve Johns. This program includes a healthy quantity of new material and benefits from the guest horn of post-bopper Eric Alexander.

"Lost and Found is home to a satisfyingly funky groove that DeVos and Kostelnik alternately investigate prior to Alexander's horn joining in perfect time with Devos' guitar on the delicate "Three/Four Miss C. The Latin feel of "Mojave serves as the prerequisite Jobim tune and gives a lovely backdrop for DeVos to stretch out improvisationally. The title cut, with its substantial chords, sets up some reverentially slow bluesy explorations.

All the stops are pulled out as Alexander and Johns push things in a hard bop direction with the fast-paced "Track and Field, showcasing Devos and Alexander's capabilities for quickness without sacrificing tone. Trane's "Giant Steps serves as compositional inspiration for the predominantly breezy "Step into Spring. The gorgeous opening chords of Van Heusen's "But Beautiful signal a pensive paean to beauty. Intriguing improvisation is again front and center with the soulfully satisfying "A Different Dozen, before Alexander presents the well-known melody of "Willow Weep for Me in a lightly swinging style for all to probe.

There is a potency to DeVos' style, with its broad sound, bluesy feel and reliance on expressive single-note runs, that maintains these tunes on their melodic axes. The result is an hour-long journey through an assortment of agreeable grooves.


Track Listing: Lost and Found; Three/Four Miss C; Mojave; Shifting Sands; Track and Field; Step into Spring; But Beautiful; A Different Dozen; Willow Weep for Me.

Personnel: Bob DeVos: guitar; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone (2,5,9); Dan Kostelnik: Hammond B-3 organ; Steve Johns: drums; Gary Fritz: percussion (1,9).

Title: Shifting Sands | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Savant Records

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