guitarist, composer, educator
Remains of Echoes and Book of Water new reviews &
Book of Fire 01/31/20 Release Date!
End of year press is coming in for Remains of Echoes and STILL trickling in for Book of Water. Some highlights below!
Always attuned to unusual choices that keep his listeners guessing, guitarist Eric Hofbauer knows no bounds when it comes to his repertoire. One is as likely to hear a Cyndi Lauper or Nirvana cover as something by Thelonious Monk or Charlie Parker. And his stylistic approach on the guitar is similarly idiosyncratic, with a gutbucket blues as likely to spill forth as something more spikily avant-garde. This unpredictable creativity is once again on display on Remains of Echoes, an enticing duo release with drummer Dylan Jack, that features Hofbauer's prodigious technique and distinctive genre-crossing acumen. - Troy Dostert, AAJ
Capping the album is a free-floating treatment of Miles Davis's “Nardis,” which pianist Bill Evans popularized and which in the duo's hands retains the understated elegance and intensity of the original; inspired reimaginings of Monk's “Let's Call This” and Mingus's “Fables of Faubus” also appear. Had Hofbauer and Jack been in the market for another album title, a suitable candidate might have been Deconstructions & Reconstructions, given how thoroughly the pair reduce all ten of these originals to their architectural skeletons before building them back up again. - Ron Shepper, Textura
Those of us in the reviewing biz tend to obsess about artists we feel are underappreciated. It’s a noble impulse, we hope, and a necessary one, too, given the over-saturation of recordings out there. Since I first heard his music many years ago, I’ve been perplexed as to why the ace guitarist and composer Eric Hofbauer isn’t a household name.
Aside from his wonderful playing itself – he generally favors a clean tone, and eschews excess – he’s drawn to conceptualism in his composing. I’m a sucker for that, and Book of Water is one of Hofbauer’s finest in recent years. For this entry in Hofbauer’s focus on the elements, his combo Five Agents (which is actually a sextet) delivers a bracing live set of postmodern mainstream jazz. Backed by the ace Boston rhythm section of bassist Nate McBride and drummer Curt Newton, Hofbauer and the tasty three-horn front line (trombonist Jeb Bishop, tenorist Seth Meicht, and trumpeter Jerry Sabatini) cavort through a complex, protean suite.
Eric Hofbauer is a guitarist and composer in a stylistic world located somewhere between modern jazz, the third stream, and free jazz. On The Book of Water leads a sextet...that evokes the writings of George Russell. Hofbauer may reminder the listener at time of such other guitarists as Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, or Derek Bailey but close listening proves him a truly original guitarist. - Duck Baker, The Absolute Sound
OTHER NEWS: The Book of Fire, a 5-part suite for guitar, bass, turntables and samples, inspired by the writings and speeches of James Baldwin, has been mixed and mastered. A planned release for Jan 31, 2020 is on track for digital and vinyl in Feb. '20. The Book of Fire project features Tony Leva on bass and turntables and myself on guitar and MPC1000. This has been a labor of love for both Tony and I and we are really excited to share this work. Keep and eye and ear out for a sneak peek track in Dec. Album cover below!
Book of Water Video Album!
I am happy to announce "Book of Water", my 5 part suite for jazz sextet, was released on June 14, 2019. The piece was written for the Five Agents (Jerry Sabatini, tpt, Seth Meicht, tenor, Jeb Bishop, tbn, Nate McBride, bass, Curt Newton, drums, myself on guitar.) Inspired by the pressing issue of climate change this album, recorded live in front of a studio audience, also comes with a "video album" of the concert recording when you purchase it from BandCamp!
Some great press has come out about the album, here are a few highlights and links to full articles:
"...it’s the overall rigor of the guitarist’s vision that makes The Book of Water an elemental success." - J. D. Considine, JazzTimes
"This is 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." - Jerome Wilson, ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"Hofbauer brings his intuitive improvisatory flair to five tracks, trickling, rushing, presenting a narrative that questions, searches, and alights on the time honed belief that together we persevere. "
"...sounding like late period Mingus, giving a mix of blues and lots of freedom. The themes range from a kinetic “Water Understands Civilization Well"... to “Well Used, Adorning Joy”... featuring sway and swing from the horns and the leader’s tensile guitar tones"
"Hofbauer reveals himself as a creative composer capable of integrating exacting composition and tactical flexibility with dogged determination." - Filipe Freitas, JAZZ TRAIL