Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
DeVos, Bob (Robert Wayne), guitarist, composer, teacher; b. Paterson, NJ, 2 February 1946. The son of Roger (1912-1979) and Emily (Nestico) DeVos (1911-1995),he has two brothers, Roger (b.1942) and Ronald (b.1949). He lives in metro New York City with his wife, Carol Selman.
No one in the family played a musical instrument, but Bob absorbed standards and the best of Big Band and Rhythm & Blues from listening to family 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 the records, and was performing professionally at thirteen. While a 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. Rock could in no way meet the needs of his musical creativity and intellect and he shortly 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, Grant Green, and Pat Martino. He subsequently recorded with Martino. He studied with Harry Leahy (guitar), Edgar Grana (composition), and Dennis Sandole (guitar and composition). He deepened his compositional and harmonic skills playing with Gerry Niewood's Timepiece featuring Dave Samuels, and as a member of the forward-thinking Ron McClure Quartet. DeVos' writing has been cited by the New Jersey Council on the Arts where he is a past grant recipient for composition.
Bob's initial jazz experience began when legendary teacher Dennis Sandole sent his leading students out to audition for 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. Bob currently works with the modern B3 players including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Joey DeFrancesco and Mike LeDonne among others. 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 saxophhonist 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.
Currently, Bob leads his own powerhouse trio with Dan Kostelnik on Hammond B3 Organ and Steve Johns on drums. Bob is also member of The Ron McClure Quartet and collaborates frequently with Hendrick Meurkens and in trio with Mike McGuirk and Billy Drummond. 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, Birdland, Zanzibar Blue, and numerous festivals in the US and worldwide, including the JVC Jazz Festivals in New York City and Miami Beach and The San Francisco Jazz Festival. Other jazz greats with whom Bob has played and/or recorded include Harry Allen, Freddy Cole, Kenny Drew Jr., Billy Drummond, Joe Farnsworth, Don Friedman, Larry Goldings, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Billy Hart, "Screaming" Jay Hawkins, David Hazeltine, Etta Jones, Gladys Knight, Dave Liebman, Jack MacDuff, Pat Martino, Idris Muhammad, Adam Nussbaum, Irene Reid, Mike Richmond, Bob Sheppard, Grady Tate, Stanley Turrentine, Dave Valentin, Ray Vega, Kenny Washington, Jerry Weldon, Buddy Williams, and many, many more.
An in-demand player, Bob is heard frequently on jazz stations nationwide; his current CD, Shifting Sands, with guest Eric Alexander on tenor, was high on the National Jazz Charts for five
months and appeared on many top ten jazz CDs lists for 2006.
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. He has done extensive work in jazz clinics and has also taught at William Paterson University.
Breaking The Ice (1999); DeVos Groove Guitar (2003); Shifting Sands
Selected Recordings as sideperson:
Richard "Groove Holmes: Groove's Groove (1977), Good Vibrations
(1977); Hugh Brodie: And The Real Thing (1979); Teo Macero:
Impressions of Charles Mingus (1983); Charles Earland:
Organomically Correct (1996), Blowing The Blues Away (1997), Jazz
Organ Summit (1998), Live (1998); Irene Reid: Million Dollar Secret
(1997), I Ain't Doin' Too Bad (1998); Dave Braham: Blue Gardenia
(2000): Ron McClure: Matchpoint (2002), Age of Peace (2004); Gene
Ludwig: Groove Organization (2002); Charles Earland Tribute Band:
Keepers of the Flame: Charles Earland (2002); New York Repertory
Orchestra under Bill Warfield: Blues Leaf (2007), Don Wilner:
Figments of My Imagination (2004), Var. HighNote artists: Jazz
That's Soulfully Blue (2005); Var. HighNote artists: Jazz in An R
&B Mode (2006); Sandy Sasso, All My Men (2006); Onaje Allan Gumbs,
Sack Full of Dreams (2007).
All About Jazz Magazine, Paula Edelstein, November, 1999 - article and interview.
Just Jazz Guitar, Adrian Ingram, February 2000, also forthcoming interview, spring 2007
JAZZIZ, Guitar Issue, Zan Stewart, March 2004
Jazz Improv, Vince Giantomassi, Summer 2004
Jazz Improv, Carla Lilien, December 2005
HotHouse, Paul Blair, January 2006
Vintage Guitar Magazine, John Heidt, April 2007
JazzReviewForum247, Rick Holland, April 2007
Television, radio and videos:
Live From Elario's, PBS-TV's nationwide Club Date series, as a member of the Jimmy McGriff-Hank Crawford Quartet, 1989
Charles Earland Quintet, w/Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, Greg Rockingham, WBET-TV, 1996
Charles Earland Quintet, w/Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, Greg Rockingham, Live from the Priory, WBGO88.3, 1998
WBGOJazzRadio 88.3FM Feature Interviews, with musical director/host Gary Walker, 1999 & 2005
The Charles Earland Tribute Band, w/Joey DeFrancesco, EricAlexander, Jim Rotondi, Vince Ector, Live from the Priory, over WBGOJazzRadio 88.3FM, 2001
Sirius Radio Interview, w/Groove ORGANization, with host Matt Abramovitz, 2003
Eric Alexander Quintet, Live from Iowa City Jazz Festival w/Jim Rotondi, Mike LeDonne, Joe Farnsworth, KCKK-FM broadcast, July 2005
The Bob DeVos Organ Trio, Live@J&R: live performance, interview with Bob with host Eulis Cathey broadcast over WBGOJazzRadio88.3, Mid-Day Jazz, November 14, 2006, streaming on www.WBGO.org