Eric Hofbauer tends to release his work in bunches and in series. He has two new albums out this fall on his own Creative Nation label. The first is his fourth solo guitar albumGhost Frets, dedicated to his close friend and guitar collaborator Garrison Fewell who recently died of cancer. It is performed on his hollow body Guild with no amplification. The second, Three Places in New England is the third in his Prehistoric Jazz series recorded with his quintet. In this series he deconstructs composed classical works to incorporate improvisation within their structure, not just playing over changes but in the spirit or “dna” of the work.
October also saw the release of a music book for advanced students: Prof Hof’s Thirty Nearly Impossible Études for Guitar Duo. The name says it all.
This is the second time I’ve had the chance to talk with Eric. He is a virtuoso who has developed a very personal style and approach to music.
Prehistoric Jazz is what Eric Hofbauer calls his deconstructions of modern classical music as he transmogrifies it into jazz. He is not content to simply reharmonize and jazzify the pieces that he chooses he reassembles them from their DNA as he likes to put it. He is also a member of the free improvisation group Bolt.
This interview was recorded in April 2015 in a practice room in Fine Arts Building at the University of Rhode Island. It was wonderful to be able to interview someone in person and to be able to respond and develop a dialogue. Because I was able to record with mics in a controlled environment this is also the best sounding interview that I’ve ever done.
We talked about the Prehistoric Jazz series, the spiritual in jazz, humor in jazz and how he gets a sound that is an extension of himself.