Eric Hofbauer Jazz Guitarist / Composer / Educator

Eric Hofbauer

Eric Hofbauer – Solo Guitar

“Eric Hofbauer has become a significant force in Boston’s improvised-music scene,” declares Stereophile’s David R. Adler. “His aesthetic evokes old blues, Americana, Tin Pan Alley, bebop, and further frontiers. There’s a rule-breaking spirit but also an impeccable rigor, a foundation of sheer chops and knowledge, that put Hofbauer in the top tier of guitarists,” he writes.

Hofbauer has been an integral member of Boston’s jazz scene as a musician, bandleader, organizer and educator for the past twenty years. He has performed and recorded alongside such notable collaborators as Han Bennink, Roy Campbell, Jr., John Tchicai, Garrison Fewell, Cecil McBee, George Garzone, Sean Jones, John Fedchock, Steve Swell and Matt Wilson.

Hofbauer, recently recognized in the 2017 DownBeat Critics’ Poll for Rising Star – Guitar, is perhaps best known for his solo guitar work featured in a trilogy of solo guitar recordings (American Vanity, American Fear and American Grace). Of the trilogy, Andrew Gilbert of The Boston Globe writes, “No other guitarist in jazz has developed a solo approach as rigorous, evocative, and thoughtful as Hofbauer. His most recent solo release Ghost Frets, was described by Chris Haines of The Free Jazz Collective “as a real testament to Hofbauer’s musical style and vision…The playing is virtuosic throughout providing a real master class in creative solo performance.” Ghost Frets is a tribute to Hofbauer’s departed friend and frequent collaborator, Garrison Fewell, and features several Fewell compositions as well as pieces by diverse artists including Eric Dolphy, George Harrison, and the Psychedelic Furs!

Hofbauer has earned critical acclaim for his work in a variety of musical projects, including recordings with the Garrison Fewell’s Variable Density Orchestra, The Pablo Ablanedo Octet(o), Charlie Kohlhase’s Explorer’s Club, and The Blueprint Project with Han Bennink among others. His primary ensemble is the Eric Hofbauer Quintet. The EHQ performs Hofbauer’s jazz arrangements of groundbreaking 20th century pieces which he describes as “prehistoric jazz.” These arrangements celebrate the common ground between modern jazz and the works of Stravinsky, Messiaen, Ellington, and Ives by using the shared rhythmic and harmonic concepts of the 20th century modernists as a bridge to postmodern jazz improvisation. In November of 2014 the EHQ recordings Prehistoric Jazz Volume 1 (The Rite of Spring) and Volume 2 (Quartet for The End of Time) were featured on NPR’s Fresh Air by noted jazz writer Kevin Whitehead. The 2016 release Prehistoric Jazz Volume 3 (Three Places in New England) was on the Boston Globe’s Top 10 Jazz Album list as well as receiving critical acclaim from Downbeat, The Wire, Tone Audio and other press.

Hofbauer received a Master’s degree from New England Conservatory and a Bachelor’s degree from Oberlin Conservatory. He directs the big band and combos at Clark University, where he also teaches jazz theory and history. Hofbauer lectures on jazz history at Emerson College, and has for the past 19 years. He has also been visiting professor at Wellesley College and the University of Rhode Island. In 2009, he was honored with the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Music Composition.


On in March 2013. Interview by Wade Tilton about solo guitar concepts, themes in the  American Trilogy and the release of American Grace

On BBC 3’s Jazz on 3 in Nov. 2010. Interview by John Fordham with solo set of American Fear repertoire.

On The Jazz Session with Jason Crane. Interview about American Fear, CNM and other projects.
CLICK HERE – For full audio of interview.

Feature Article in The Boston Globe. Interview about American Grace, Infrared Band and other projects.

About American Fear, American Vanity and American Grace

Over the past decade, Boston-based guitarist/composer Eric Hofbauer has  performed and recorded alongside such notable collaborators as Han Bennink, Roy Campbell, Jr., Garrison Fewell, Charlie Kohlhase, Cecil McBee, Steve Swell and Matt Wilson, but he is perhaps best known for his innovative work as a solo artist.

His three acclaimed solo guitar releases, American Vanity (Creative Nation Music, 2004),  American Fear (Creative Nation Music, 2010) and American Grace (Creative Nation Music, 2012), represent a trilogy of recordings that 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.

“Technically Hofbauer can obviously play the standard jazz guitar game,” writes Signal To Noise’s Robert Iannapollo, “but it’s clear he doesn’t want to be hemmed in by the clichés of its tradition.”

Critics have called his music “intriguingly original” (Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes), “both mischievous and playful” (Edwin Pouncey, Jazzwise) and “as unassumingly compelling as anything out there” (Nic Jones,

In his review of American Fear, AllAboutJazz-New York’s Tom 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.”

Ghost Frets
Creative Nation Music 029

American Grace
Creative Nation Music 022

American Fear
Creative Nation Music 019

American Vanity
Creative Nation Music 003


Cult of Personality – Live at Third Life Studio 2/20/16

Let’s Cool One & Ayleristic from “Ghost Frets” – Live at Third Life Studio 2/20/16

Buddy Bolden’s Blues – From “Ghost Frets” recording session 1/8/16


Solo Guitar Set Part 1 – ‘American Grace’ Tour 9/18/13, Lily Pad, Cambridge MA.

Eric Hofbauer solo @ Lily Pad Part 1

Solo Guitar Set Part 2 – ‘American Grace’ Tour 9/18/13, Lily Pad, Cambridge MA.

Eric Hofbauer solo @ Lily Pad part 2

Solo Guitar Set – from 2/12/12, House Concert, Somerville MA

Eric Hofbauer – Solo Guitar Set: 2/12/12

‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ – from 11/2010 Providence RI, solo show

Eric Hofbauer Solo – Everybody Wants to Rule the

‘Moose The Mooche’ – from 11/2010 Providence RI, solo show

Eric Hofbauer Solo – Moose the

‘Hot For Teacher’ – from 11/2010 Providence RI, solo show

Eric Hofbauer Solo – Hot for


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