The Eric Hofbauer Quintet is kicking off summer with the digital release of the critically acclaimed sister recordings, Prehistoric Jazz Volume 1 – The Rite of Spring and Prehistoric Jazz Volume 2 – Quatour pour la fin du temps. Both recordings are now available through most digital retailers, including i-tunes and youtube.
In addition, Warren Amerman from Rotary Records, who recorded both Prehistoric Jazz releases, recently shot and edited a music video of ‘The Augurs of Spring’ from Prehistoric Jazz Volume 1! It is rare to see a serious production-value music video of jazz, or most other instrumental music for that matter, especially one able to capture the spirit of improvisation and group interaction through the camera angles and film editing. Very cool!
Just a reminder… CD’s can still be purchased at the links below.
“With sure workmanship and untamed inquisitiveness, Boston-based guitarist Eric Hofbauer is no stranger to confronting unusual yet stimulating music. Examples include 2008’s uncharacteristic guitar duo The Lady of Khartoum with Garrison Fewell or the strikingAmerican solo series—American Vanity (2004), American Fear (2010) and American Grace(2013)—which crossed distinctive terrains of improvisation and covers of iconic pieces suchLouis Armstrong‘s “West End Blues,” Cindy Lauper’s “True Colors” and a raucous take on rock group Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher.”
So with a new quintet and his imaginative proclivity it’s not a stretch for Hofbauer to set his sights on the music of two early 20th century composers with his Prehistoric Jazz volumes brought to fruition through a concert series and two recordings which illuminate the art of a jazz improvisation and artistic liberties of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s iconic 1913 ballet and orchestral concert masterpiece—Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) and French composer Olivier Messiaen’s 1941 Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time).” – Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz
“For most people “prehistoric jazz” means W.C. Handy or Buddy Bolden, yet Boston-based Eric Hofbauer puts a post-modern spin on the concept. Recognizing that advanced improvisation takes as much from the so-called classical tradition as jazz, he reworks two 20th-century musical milestones into separate programs for trumpeter Jerry Sabatini, clarinetist Todd Brunel, cellist Junko Fujiwara and drummer Curt Newton plus his own guitar. Each is handled differently.
The studied primitivism of Igor Stravinsky’s symphonic The Rite of Spring is miniaturized with each player standing in for a different orchestral section. The result is as rousing and romantic as the original score, but with openings for distinctive solos that rhythmically extend the composer’s ur-modernism. Originally composed for a chamber ensemble, Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps is implemented with as much joyous ecstasy as the composer intended, but stripped of its overt Christian mysticism.” – Ken Waxman, The Whole Note
“An interesting blend of old-timey music, classical, and avant-garde clatter and squeak…both provide opportunities for the various members of the group to take extended, introspective solos, or dialogue with each other, as the mood dictates”
– Burning Ambulance Top 25 of 2014 (#14)
“It’s really hard to choose one volume over the other so be wise and purchase both. This music will bring you hours of pleasure as you listen to the care and attention Eric Hofbauer put into making “The Rite of Spring” and “Quintet for the End of Time.” While it’s clear the Quintet can and does play with great virtuosity, this music is also emotionally strong and heartfelt.” – Richard Kamins, Step Tempest Blog
“Boston-based, top tier guitarist eric hofbauer uses his quintet to shake the cobwebs out of birthing the universe” – Ann Porotti, WTJU 91.1FM UVA Radio
“There are so many interesting cross-references at work here, Hofbauer seems to have thought of everything. First of all, the sound and approach of this ensemble often sounds a bit like 1920s jazz, which would have been the era in which “Rite” could have been first played as an experimental jazz piece. None of this is obvious or ‘museum like’ as Hofbauer also draws on many modern elements such as free improvisation and more. The 20s sound of the ensemble and the modern NYC eclectic influences blend seamlessly, the end result is a piece that fits well with the music of today… Eric Hofbauer’s version of “The Rite of Spring” never gets boring or predictable, the main melodies of the piece come and go while they mix with all manner of diversions and excursions. Eric is able to accent the modernist elements of this piece, both in the context of its time period and today, and show the connecting similarities in both decades. This rendition really brings new life to Stravinsky’s creation, and I think Igor would have enjoyed hearing it. The added plus is Hofbauer’s guitar playing, which somehow can capture some of the color of Stravinsky’s original orchestrations.”
– Jazz Music Archives.com
“Guitarist Eric Hofbauer does things his own way, in ways other people generally don’t. But he steps further beyond the expected these days with a two-volume offering that takes some contemporary 20th century milestone classical compositions and arranges them for a jazz-centered quintet….The band has their hands full realizing the motifs and getting loose and free improvisationally, or even at times sounding like an early jazz band and/or Duke’s Jungle period outfit, too. Much credit goes to the arrangements/arranger, and to the sextet itself also for their creative transformations.” – Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog
“As with volume one Eric does not give you an end-to-end transcription of the original work, but instead selects key motives and sections, giving the themes to various instrumental combinations and slanting the phrases at times for a more jazzed reading. The Messiaen really lends itself to this treatment, and Eric makes much out of the music so that it convinces fully as jazz for today. There are certain passages of the work that sound so boppish you’d think Messiaen meant them that way. Kudos to Hofbauer for hearing the potential and realizing it so well. Eric, Jerry and Todd get some really interesting solos going too, at times simultaneously. It is no easy feat to pull this off, but Hofbauer and company do so with style, swinging heat and smarts. This one brings it on home! Many stars, if I rated things that way. Highly recommended! – Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog
“Perhaps the most adventurous attempt at a renaissance fusion of what has been referred to as “third stream” music… Jazz and classical have an unspoken wall of theory placed between them. Guitarist Eric Hofbauer has just shattered the wall and raised the bar for modern composition across the board….The Eric Hofbauer Quintet is magnificent… To refer to Hofbauer as a modern if not impressionistic virtuoso is not a stretch, and the quintet is first rate with the amazing ability to perform with a sound twice their size. (These recordings) are the personification of passion on a shiny silver disc.
– Brent Black, Critical Jazz (Bop-n-Jazz)
— Eric Hofbauer (@EricHofbauer) July 11, 2014
CLIP #1: “A Kiss Of The Earth” – “Procession Of The Oldest And Wisest One”
CLIP #2: “The Kiss Of The Earth” – “The Exalted Sacrifice”
CLIP #3: “Mystic Circle Of The Young Girls” – “Sacrificial Dance”
I am very lucky to have some of my playing documented from the tour. I have added two clips that were shot by my good friend and exquisite drummer extraordinaire Curt Newton (fellow member of the Eric Hofbuaer Quintet – Prehistoric Jazz project). It is from the Boston show at the Lily Pad on Sept 18th. I played straight through, a 45 minute solo set, improvising from one place to another, hitting various themes and tunes along the way. Video #1 features Dear Prudence (The Beatles) into West End Blues (Joe Oliver) into Dewey Square (Charlie Parker). Video #2 features a tune of mine, Pocket Chops into the folk tune by Blind Willie Johnson, God Moves On The Water.
I was also lucky to get some print attention while on tour as well with some great preview and review articles in outlets such as The Village Voice, The Chicago Reader and Fuse Jazz Review. I have posted a few quotes and links to the complete articles. My next goal for the solo tour is to take it out to the west coast in the spring… time to start booking!!! A profound THANK YOU! to all who came out to see my shows, buy CDs, and support the music.
“An enthusiastic and attentive audience showed up at the Boston area stop of our own Eric Hofbauer 8/18 at the Lily Pad during his tour of the Northeast and Midwest. Being attentive was the smart thing to do, whether one focusses on Eric’s remarkable technical prowess or the far more remarkable music he makes. Being a Hofbauer guitar fan, I have witnessed his solo work several times over the years and always with great pleasure. This certainly was his most impressive outing.” – Boston Jazz Scene (full review)
“There’s something deceptive about the informality the Boston guitarist brings to his solo work: On the recent American Grace he makes dabbling a fine art.” – Jim Macnie, Village Voice (full preview)
“Hofbauer is a terrific player, treating original tunes, jazz standards, modern pop-rock songs, and blues with a distinctive touch; gnarled, melodic, spikey, and dense. There’s a deep affection for the material inherent in his interpretations, and that familiarity and ease allows him to take some of the tunes to surprising places.” – Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader (full preview)
“Eric Hofbauer doesn’t play his big hollow-bodied Guild guitar very loud — at least not by today’s standards — but few people get more sheer guitar sound out of their instruments.” – Jon Garelick, The Fuse Jazz Review (full review)