The world class guitarist didn't need a warm-up. He came out smoking."
Guitarist, composer and arranger Bob DeVos is hailed as a brilliant, knowing bebop player, a master with a sound to die for–rich, full, deep, positive, round and warm. With long, blues-drenched melodic lines and a horn-like approach, he has a signature style of groove and sophistication. A modern player with strong traditional roots, DeVos is at home with straight-ahead jazz, blues, Rhythm & Blues, funk, Latin and more. DeVos performs in every setting from solo to big band.
Beginning with Breaking the Ice, produced by Charles Earland, DeVos’ CDs as a leader for HighNote/Savant and other labels have earned rave reviews and many stars in Downbeat and throughout the jazz media, were among top five on JazzWeek’s National Airplay Chart for many months, and appeared on many yearly top CDs lists. Frequent collaborator tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander appears on Bob’s Shifting Sands and Playing for Keeps. His most current CDs are the hip Shadow Box featuring Ralph Bowen on tenor and the lustrous Six String Solos.
DeVos heads his own modern, powerhouse organ trio featuring Dan Kostelnik and Steve Johns and works often with organists Mike LeDonne and Kyle Koehler. Bob was the musical director and guitarist for the concert, An Organ Summit Supreme, reuniting with Dr. Lonnie Smith and Trudy Pitts and tenor legends David “Fathead” Newman and Houston Person.
Currently Bob leads groups featuring vibraphonist Behn Gillece, bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Billy Drummond and collaborates with pianist Andy LaVerne: “I learned to comp listening to Wynton Kelly, Red Garland, McCoy Tyner; from the start I was thinking in terms of modern harmonies.” He is also a member of Bill Warfield’s New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra and the Glenn Franke Big Band.
Bob studied jazz as a teenager with Harry Leahy and the legendary Dennis Sandole. When Sandole sent his students to replace Pat Martino in the Trudy Pitts and ‘Mr. C’ Trio, Bob got the gig. He went on to tour and record extensively with the legendary Hammond B3 organ groups: Richard "Groove" Holmes-Sonny Stitt, Jimmy McGriff-Hank Crawford, and especially Charles Earland’s last group with Eric Alexander and Jim Rotondi, then later with modern B3 players. Bob deepened his compositional and harmonic approach playing with Gerry Niewood’s Timepiece with Dave Samuels (1980s) and as a composer/player for the forward-thinking Ron McClure Quartet (2000s). He studied classical composition with Edgar Grana (1990s), and was the 1996 NJ Council of the Arts Grant recipient for composition.
An in-demand player, Bob has a far-reaching discography as a sideman, including over 100 studio recordings. He has a strong following for his innovative work with a who’s who of jazz greats both in and outside of the Hammond B3 organ genre: A short list includes Pepper Adams, Joey DeFrancesco, Don Friedman, Billy Hart, Hendrik Meurkens, Etta Jones, Jack McDuff, Pat Martino, Irene Reid, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Stanley Turrentine and many more. As a young musician he played with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins & recorded for Frank Sinatra and Gladys Knight, among others.
In recent years, Bob has performed at the Kennedy Center, The Kimmel Center, The NJ State Theater, The Blue Note, Iridium, The Jazz Bakery, The Kitano, SMOKE, Chris’ Jazz Cafe, the Smithsonian, San Diego Art Museum, Birdland, Jazzmobile, Smalls and numerous festivals in the US and worldwide, including JVC Jazz Festivals and The San Francisco Jazz Festival.
Mr. DeVos is currently on the music faculty at Lehigh University and teaches privately. An innovate teacher, he has done extensive work in jazz clinics worldwide, long taught at William Paterson University and is a past artist-in-residence at Newark, New Jersey’s Arts High.