Bob DeVos

Breaking the Ice

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Guitarist DeVos has scrambled around the L.A. & N.Y. scenes, finally getting an opportunity to cut a disc of his own. Looking to be in his fifties judging by the cover photo, his playing definitely displays the exuberance of youth, and recalls the classic sound of Grant Green. Organist Charles Earland contributes mightily to this set, more than words can say, while drummer Vincent Ector and conga man Master Henry Gibson do more than fill the cracks, they propel the soloists and lay down a solid rhythmic foundation. DeVos is not flashy, but economical. He prefers the linear, single line approach, not too many chords. Like Green, his solos and themes have a swinging, deep bluesy tinge. Grooves are substantive as on the chunky, peanut butter fudge funky "Rue de La Burner," or the exceptional 6/8 romp "Chasing the Bunny," the latter where Earland and Gibson really step up. "Tri-Hog-Myth" is an anagram and a re-harmonized melody of "I Got Rhythm," with DeVos taking a great boppish solo, while the title track has a more simplified groove and melody, a 24-bar blues taken in a patient, non-stressed fashion. Even cooler is a unique midtempo treatment of the standard torch song "You Don't Know What Love Is," a variation with a smaller groove and some nice trading of eight-bar solos between the participants at the end. The zingers are DeVos' quite different Duane Allman sounding guitar during "The Thrill Is Gone," Patrice Rushen's pop tune "Forget Me Nots," and Earland on soprano sax à la Grover Washington, Jr., and a nice upbeat adaptation of "Walk on By" with DeVos' more natural, untreated guitar coming to the forefront. This is quite a refreshing date. Bob DeVos, where have you been all of our lives? Highly recommended.

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