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Artist: DEVIN HOFF
Title: Solo Bass
Label: Hoff 01           Country: USA
Format: CD           Status: AVAILABLE           $10.00

Description: Thanks to all-star bassist Trevor Dunn & ace harpist Shelley Burgon, who have curated at The Stone this month (August of 2008), we have an opportunity to hear a number of amazing bassists, playing in solos and duos. The line-up includes Michael Formanek, Mark Dresser, Mark Helias, Thomas Morgan, Drew Gress, Percy Jones and Devin Hoff. Devin played a great solo set at The Stone last week and left us with copies of his self-produced solo CD. You should know West Coast bassist, Devin Hoff's name from his work with Nels Cline, Scott Amendola, John Ettinger, Fred Frith, Larry Ochs aaand that great duo with Ches Smith, Good for Cows. On the cover of this disc is the definition for "anarchism," mentioning that all forms of government rest on violence and are wrong and harmful." There is a lesson in there, which seems more appropriate right now while our government causes all sorts of harmful rules behind our backs.
Devin has a superb touch and a distinctive sound on his contrabass. "The Idea" is first and is a lovely, lyrical, contemplative way to have things begin, delightfully and delicately plucked. "The Alarm" is perfectly balanced between bowed and pizzicato sections. The melody played in the bowed part sounds most familiar and gets more intense as the song progresses. Each of these pieces is like a long lost song buried somewhere in our collective memories. This is not a case of showing off how many weird sounds one can make on their bass, but a way to reach inside and touch us with some universal melodies or short stories. Much of this is closer to folk music than to jazz, often being elegant, touching and thoughtful. On "The Blast," the eerie bowing at the beginning really stands out, like ghosts howling in a graveyard. "Regeneration" reminds us that one can say so much, paint so many images and create an entire band with just one acoustic bass. As Devin strums his bass, it is like an entire rock band churning out their own hypnotic melody. This disc is a particularly strong solo effort, it sounds like so much more than just solo bass. - BLG
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