Eric Hofbauer

Primary Instrument: Guitar

Born: January 31, 1974    

Eric Hofbauer

“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.”

Hofbauer has been an integral member of Boston’s jazz scene as a musician, bandleader, organizer and educator for the past fifteen years. Where he 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....
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2009 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Music Composition

Eric Hofbauer has become a significant force in Boston’s improvised-music scene… 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 plectrists. - David R. Adler, Stereophile

American Grace mingles original Hofbauer compositions witha selection of covers judicious enough to rival the books of Brad Mehldeau and the Bad Plus… American Grace is an abundantly expressive and fully affecting guitar recording. - Jeff Tamarkin, JazzTimes

Hofbauer plays the guitar like Derek Bailey, if Derek Bailey happened to be born in Mississippi instead of Sheffield England. He chisels sounds both primitive and modern, sometimes simultaneously…In his hands, a guitar can reconfigure “West End Blues” as free jazz or morph Sammy Cahn’s classic “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry” into a devotional melody. Hofbauer reconfigures melodies as if he were a modern primitive, discovering these methods of music-making afresh. - Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

American Grace (has) an ambiance that is a rare commodity in the world of modern jazz guitar. The kicker being Hofbauer transcends jazz and most any generic label most critics would insist he be placed under. Eric Hofbauer is an artist. (5 star review) - @CriticalJazz

Guitarist Eric Hofbauer has created a masterful showcase with American Grace, a mix of folk, jazz, blues and rock styles. Or, perhaps best described as a deep exploration of American music. Unadorned and uninhibited, the acoustic guitar is recorded clearly, preserved in sonic crystal. -Paul Acquaro, The Free Jazz Collective

What is striking, memorable, and sets this music apart is the originality and artistry of Eric the guitarist…It’s a tour de force in plectorial artistry. You need to hear it. Eric Hofbauer has it all going on here. -Grego Applegate, Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog


LEVEL is an impressive contemporary jazz record full of space and fierce intelligence.
Colin Buttimer, BBC

Here’s the tension between structure and freedom that defined that first album (Myth Understanding, 2008) and so much of the best post-’60s avant-garde. But here’s the thing: Hofbauer has developed a hard-bopper’s skill with hooky song forms. Wherever these guys roam, the thematic material is never far from sight, and there’s always deliberation in what they do. If you’re going to experiment, do it with authority. Somewhere, Charles Mingus is smiling.
Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix

Back in 2008 this band—the only change here being bassist Sean Farias in for Michael Montgomery—produced one of the best albums of that year. In 2011, they’ve gone and done it again. Like Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols and Andrew Hill, guitarist Eric Hofbauer’s music benefits enormously from having the right musicians to bring it to fruition, and in this instance he’s blessed…with the extraordinary depth of empathetic interplay that clearly comes quite naturally to these players…a band with no agenda other than that of making highly distinctive music.
Nic Jones,

Eric Hofbauer & The Infrared Band’s LEVEL might be trying to conjure up modern day mythology, but the sophistication and virtuosity that went into making these recordings is no made up story. No, these guys are for real.
S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!

American Fear:

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.
Tom Greenland, AllAboutJazz-New York

I’ve never heard anyone play the guitar like that before. There’s so much going on in there and it’s quite extraordinary to listen to—a lot of tremendous energy and that real self- propelling rhythmic feel as if he had his own built-in rhythm section.
John Fordham, BBC Radio 3's Jazz on 3

Over the course of successive releases he has proved himself to be one of the great original voices and this solo guitar recital proves it in spades. He seemingly and effortlessly has forged a highly individual instrumental vocabulary and this, allied with a harmonic sense that's by turns sly and steeped in wit, is one of the hallmarks of his as unassumingly compelling as anything out there.
Nic Jones,

It's guitarists like Eric Hofbauer that can make life so very interesting.
John Garratt,

...Hofbauer plunders the songbooks of musicians such as Andrew Hill, Johnny Cash, Charlie Parker and Fats Waller smashing their various styles together in an acoustic guitar pile up that is both mischievous and playful. Wedged between these experiments are Hofbauer’s own compositions bearing titles such as “Monsters In The Closet”, “Broke Down... Breakdown” and “American Wonder” that burrow deep into the memory and refuse to budge.
Edwin Pouncey, Jazzwise

...he makes it clear that he won’t settle for what his instrument can do when he can explore what it really ain’t supposed to.
Kevin Le Gendre, BBC Music

...a guitarist/composer and bold transgressor of traditional genre boundaries...
Owen McNally, Hartford Courant

What an accomplished and smart player he is! A must for guitarists, and a pleasant surprise for the rest of us.
Philip McNally, Cadence

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

Myth Understanding:

A refreshingly original voice, Hofbauer reveals an affable yet mischievous sensibility in his writing and improvising. Aided by the superlative interpretive abilities of his sidemen, Eric Hofbauer and The Infrared Band make Myth Understanding a sterling debut.
Troy Collins,

...his edgy, outsider aesthetic informs this intriguingly original music...Hofbauer stakes out fresh territory on tunes like “Jac Mac Talkin’”, “A Drunk Monk” and “The Chump Killer”.
Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes

...a lithe, smart quartet...Myth Understanding’s music speaks, flows and evolves...It’s great stuff, and Hofbauer’s definitely found the right voices for his brand of avant- postbop.
Nathan Turk, Signal To Noise

This record is rewarding on every level.
Michael Coyle, Cadence

  • American Grace

    Creative Nation Music
  • American Grace

    Challenge Jazz
  • Level

    Creative Nation Music
  • Eric Hofbauer: American Fear!

    Creative Nation Music
  • American Fear

    Creative Nation Music
  • American Vanity

    Creative Nation Music

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