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Bob DeVos was born Robert Wayne DeVos in Paterson, New Jersey. No
one in the family played a musical instrument, but Bob absorbed
standards and the best of Big Band and rhythm and blues from listening
to his parents' and older brother's record collections: Basie, Ellington,
Sinatra, Nat King Cole, James Brown, King Curtis, B.B. King, Chuck
Berry. Bob picked up the guitar at age twelve, within weeks was
memorizing guitar solos off of these records, and was performing
professionally at thirteen. As an older teenager, he was the guitarist
for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons but more telling for his
future, he was exploring the soul jazz clubs of Newark, New Jersey
and hearing the Hammond B-3 Organ greats, including his future collaborators
for Blues Leaf, Gene Ludwig and Billy James. Rock could not meet
the needs of his musical creativity and intellect; "I needed more
chord changes…" In his early twenties, he chose jazz over rock.
Through his teens, Bob performed with groups influenced by B.B.
King, Otis Redding, James Brown and other rhythm and blues artists.
He was soon inspired by Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall,
and Pat Martino. He subsequently recorded with Martino. He studied
with Harry Leahy (guitar), Edgar Grana (composition), and Dennis
Sandole (guitar and composition). An extraordinarily mature and
versatile musician, Bob is a modern player with strong traditional
roots. He is equally at home with straight-ahead jazz, rhythm and
blues, jazz fusion and more.
Bob's initial jazz experience began while he was a student of Harry
Leahy and the legendary Dennis Sandole. In 1970, when Sandole sent
his leading students out to audition for the brilliant and underated
organist Trudy Pitts, Bob was the one chosen. His early jazz experience
was with groups featuring the Hammond B-3 organ, beginning with
Trudy Pitt's trio. Bob went on to play with groups led by Richard
"Groove" Holmes, featuring saxophonist Sonny Stitt, and by Jimmy
McGriff and Hank Crawford. Bob later toured and recorded extensively
with organist Charles "The Mighty Burner" Earland's group that included
Eric Alexander and Jim Rotondi. Performances As a member of the
Jimmy McGriff-Hank Crawford Quartet, Mr. DeVos appeared in the PBS-TV
video Live From Elario's, aired nationwide on PBS's Club Date series.
He toured as a member of saxophonist Gerry Neiwood's group Timepiece,
including Dave Samuels. As a member of composer Teo Macero's Nonet,
Bob recorded and performed with Pepper Adams, Dave Leibman, and
Dick Oatts. He has also performed and/or recorded with Eric Alexander,
Hugh Brodie, Junior Cook, Joey DeFrancesco, Bill Doggett, Larry
Goldings, "Screaming" Jay Hawkins, Etta Jones, Mike LeDonne, Gene
Ludwig, Jack MacDuff, Ron McClure, David "Fathead" Newman, Adam
Nussbaum, Houston Person, Irene Reid, Rufus Reid, Mike Richmond,
Bob Sheppard, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Stanley Turrentine and Buddy Williams
among many others.
Mr. DeVos' writing has been cited by the New Jersey Council on the
Arts where he is a past grant recipient for composition. Critics
universally cite and acclaim his composing for both his first CD
as a leader and the CDs of others: "Breaking the Ice," "Rue de La
Burner", and "Tri-Hog-Myth" on Breaking the Ice (Savant); "Maine-Stay",
"Shorter Story", "West Side Blues", and "In Search of Times Lost"
on Matchpoint (Steeplechase, with the Ron McClure Quartet); "Pause
for Fred's Claw"s on Groove ORGANization, with the Gene Ludwig Trio
(Blues Leaf); and "Memorial Day" on Keepers of the Flame: Charles
Earland, (HighNote, with the Charles Earland Tribute Band anchored
by Joey DeFrancesco). "Shorter Story" and "Shifting Sand" have been
recorded by West Coast tenor great Bob Sheppard on his In The Now
and Tell Tale Signs (BMG Records).
Bob leads his own quartet and plays and records frequently with
Groove ORGANIZation. (Gene Ludwig, Bob DeVos, and Billy James).
He is a member of forward looking Ron McClure Quartet and of Tribute~The
Charles Earland Tribute Band with organist Joey DeFrancesco and
featuring Eric Alexander and Jim Rotondi. In recent years, Bob has
performed at the Kennedy Center, The Blue Note, Birdland, Iridium,
SMOKE, Sweet Basil, Zanzibar Blue, The Van Dyke Café, and numerous
festivals in the US and worldwide, including the JVC Jazz Festivals
in New York City and Miami Beach, and The San Franciso Jazz Festival.
An in-demand freelance player, he is heard frequently on jazz stations
Mr. DeVos is on the music faculty at Lehigh University in Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania and teaches privately. He can often be heard there
and elsewhere as part of Bill Warfield's New York Repertory Orchestra.
An innovative and sensitive teacher, he has done extensive work
in jazz clinics and has also taught at William Paterson University.
As a Leader: The late 1999 release of Breaking
The Ice on Savant Records marked Bob DeVos' stunning four
and half star CD debut as a leader. It features Charles Earland
on Hammond B-3, legendary percussionist Master Henry Gibson, and
drummer Vince Ector.
Bob's next CD, Devos Groove Guitar,
Spring, 2003 on Blues Leaf Records, reunited Bob with Hammond B-3
master Gene Ludwig and legendary drummer Billy James, and includes
Emedin Rivera on percussion.
As a Sideman
w/Richard "Groove" Holmes - Groove's
Groove (32 Jazz) 1977 Good Vibrations (Muse Records) 1977 w/Hugh
Brodie - And The Real Thing (Kheba Records) 1979
w/Teo Macero - Impressions of Charles
Mingus (Palo Alto Jazz) 1983
w/Charles Earland - Organomically Correct
(32 Jazz) 1996 Blowing The Blues Away (HighNote Records) 1997 Jazz
Organ Summit (Cannonball Records) 1998 Live (Cannonball Records)
1998 w/Irene Reid - Million Dollar
Secret (HighNote) 1997 I Ain't Doin' Too Bad (HighNote) 1998
w/Dave Braham - Blue Gardenia (Blue
Jay Records) 2000 w/Ron McClure - Matchpoint (Steeplechase Records)
2002 w/Gene Ludwig - Groove Organization (Blues Leaf Records) 2002
w/Charles Earland Tribute Band - Keepers
of the Flame: Charles Earland (HighNote Records) 2002, featuring
Joey DeFrancesco and Eric Alexander, with guest Pat Martino
Bob recently recorded a second CD for Steeplechase with the
Ron McClure Quartet and will record another as part of Groove ORGANization
for Blues Leaf in 2003.
All About Jazz Magazine, Paula Edelstein, November, 1999
- article and interview. Just Jazz Guitar, Adrian Ingram, February
Recorded Video Performances
Live From Elario's, part of PBS's nationwide Club Date
series, as a member of the Jimmy McGriff-Hank Crawford Quartet.