On March 12, Creative Nation Music will release American Grace, guitarist Eric Hofbauer‘s third solo recording, completing the trilogy begun in 2004 with American Vanity and followed by American Fear in 2010. Throughout all three American Trilogy recordings, Hofbauer comments on varied aspects of American society and culture, covering a wide range of styles from ’80’s pop tunes, jazz standards, bebop and free jazz to country and blues.
Reflecting on his journey of exploration through three solo recordings, Hofbauer explains, “The trilogy is about process, coming of age, or coming to terms with the internal and external world. It’s autobiographical and I hope in some ways, universal. Grace is the final step… acceptance of who we are, regardless of what the universe has dished out. Vanity and Fearportrayed the more green side of that process, while Grace is the arrival of awareness, of embracing the duality inherent in life and humanity.” The nineteen tracks on American Grace cover a vast stylistic territory, connected together through Hofbauer’s unique deconstructionist sense of melodic interpretation, polyrhythm and bi-tonality. Original compositions sit side by side with startling interpretations of folk hymns, free jazz, 80’s pop classics, stride guitar, bebop and the blues.
Hofbauer’s two previously acclaimed solo guitar releases,American Vanity andAmerican Fear, dissect and examine American culture through spontaneous original compositions and stripped-down interpretations of musical touchstones that span country, jazz and rock. These stark, personal statements showcase not only Hofbauer’s undeniable skills as a musician, but also his trademark intelligence and humor, as he deftly puts his own affable, sometimes jaw-dropping spin on the music of everyone from Johnny Cash and Hank Williams to Andrew Hill and Charlie Parker to Nirvana and Van Halen.
“No other guitarist in jazz has developed a solo approach as rigorous, evocative, and thoughtful as Hofbauer,” writes Andrew Gilbert of The Boston Globe. In his review of American Fear, AllAboutJazz-New York’sTom Greenland adds, “For all its variety, drawing on recognizable elements of jazz and other musical traditions, Hofbauer’s voice emerges here unique and distinct, blending the comedic with the tragic—and having some serious fun.”
While best known for his innovative work as a solo artist, Hofbauer has been an integral member of Boston’s jazz scene as a musician, bandleader, organizer and educator for the past fifteen years. Hofbauer has performed and recorded alongside such notable collaborators as Han Bennink, Roy Campbell, Jr., John Tchicai, Garrison Fewell, Cecil McBee, Steve Swell and Matt Wilson. Hofbauer has earned critical acclaim for his work in a variety of musical projects, including recordings with the Garrison Fewell/Eric Hofbauer Duo, Garrison Fewell’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra and The Blueprint Project with Han Bennink. In 2007, he founded his own group, Eric Hofbauer & The Infrared Band, which released its debut Myth Understanding in 2008 and followed up with LEVEL in 2011. Most recently, he has been performing with BOLT, an electro-acoustic improvising quartet featuring the notable Dutch free jazz player, Jorrit Dijkstra, and the new Eric Hofbauer Quartet, a modern jazz project featuring Hofbauer compositions.
Hofbauer teaches jazz composition, guitar, and jazz history at Emerson College and the University of Rhode Island. In 2009, he was honored with the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Music Composition, which included a grant he used to mix and master American Fear.
About Creative Nation Music
Founded in early 2004, Creative Nation Music is a respected outlet for new releases from the Boston jazz scene’s most distinctive musical personalities. CNM has released 22 albums to date and recently celebrated its 9th year in production, and is a respected outlet for independent creative improvised music. True to its original principles, it remains focused on documenting and promoting the work of musicians living and working in the Boston area, with a special emphasis on jazz artists with distinctive musical personalities.