Born in Chicago in 1953, Draa Hobbs studied guitar with jazz greats Attila Zoller and Jimmy Raney, and also had private lessons with Gene Bertoncini and Peter Leitch. Draa went on to perform with Attila Zoller in a variety of settings, ranging from a concert with composer David Amram, to a duo performance broadcast live on WRNX in Amherst, Massachusetts. Draa was one of three guitarists honoring the late Zoller in a concert held at the Vermont Jazz Center in Brattleboro, Vermont. Along with Draa was Russian guitarist Andre Ryabov, and the great New York guitarist, Vic Juris. The rhythm section included drummer Barry Altschul.
Past collaborations have included recordings and duo performances with guitarist John Stowell; gigs in New York and Newfane with tenor saxophonist Jed Levy and Thomson Kneeland; and a recording session for Grammy nominated singer songwriter Lisa McCormick which included Allison Miller on drums and T-Bone Wolk on bass. Draa was also on a recently released CD performing the music of classical composer Erik Satie, a project by award winning producer (Joey Defransisco, Danny Gatton) Ed Eastridge. This CD received a great review from Guitar Player.
As a teacher Draa has taught at Marlboro College, Amherst College, The Putney School, The Vermont Jazz Center, and Plymouth State University, where he ran the guitar program and coached guitar ensembles. Draa is currently working on a new solo CD, as well as preparing for a trio recording with his working group. Draa's recent performances at The Joan Carlock Memorial Concerts have included some of the top names in Jazz, including pianist Armen Donelian; Sax great Jed Levy; bassist/ composer Thomson Kneeland; and drummer Jeff Brillinger. In March, 21012 Draa will be performing at the Vermont Jazz Center with jazz greats bassist Ron McClure, drummer Eliot Zigmund; and pianist Don Friedman in a Tribute to Attila Zoller. Draa is currently the Program Director for The Vermont Institute of Contemporary Art in Chester, Vt, where he organizes the Music Concert Series.
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I am currently teaching private lessons at the Putney School in Putney, Vermont; at ArtistTree in Woodstock, Vermont: and at my home in Grafton, VT. I can also teach online lessons via Skype. Contact me for more information. Past students who have gone on to become successful professionals have included Grammy Nominated singer/songwriter Lisa McCormick; 'Soulive' guitarist Eric Krasno; Jazz Guitarists Jason Ennis; Zach Pearson (now touring with the Gypsy Jazz trio 'Amerinouche') ; and Evan Lincoln, guitarist for 'Flabberghaster'.
"Draa Hobbs plays in the tradition of classic jazz guitar, but he has found his own voice. He's a player in the moment, creating melodies and avoiding cliches. He has a warm dark sound and swings with the best of them. I love playing with him."
"It's rare to find someone so passionate about music that it serves as both their spiritual nourishment and their unfettered gift to others, Draa Hobbs is one of those generous few. Draa learned from the best and through talent, perseverance and a love for jazz, transcended the teachings and made them his own. A gifted performer, Draa is now one of the most respected guitarists and teachers in New England; his commitment to the music itself, his students and his own growth is extraordinary. The results of this dedication come shining through with every note he plays with intention and with every student who passes through his program. We are proud to count Draa as a valued member of our faculty."
"Draa is an impressive guitarist with an vast knowledge of Jazz, Blues and related styles. As a teacher, his experience with Jazz groups of various sizes and stylistic approaches, his unique solo guitar work, and his love of Blues, Rock and R & B music all make him an excellent resource for any student seeking to develop or deepen his or her relationship with music and the instrument."
"Not all great players are good teachers. Draa plays beautifully, and in my opinion is an artist and a complete musician. But he is also a fine teacher, knowledgeable about all forms of music, and insightful as to what you need to develop your own thing. He's also patient and committed to help you become the musician you want to be at the pace you need to get there. I've had a few teachers in the forty plus years I have been playing guitar, and I recommend Draa Hobbs as a player and a teacher without equivocation.
"Draa Hobbes is a gifted teacher. I am mostly self-taught, with some strengths and many weaknesses in my playing. In my first lesson, Draa was able to immediately identify a half dozen areas of focus that almost immediately helped to move my playing to a new level. He explained clearly what I needed to learn, and showed it to me in a way that made sense in the context of what I already knew. Each of the lessons he has given me have seamlessly integrated mechanics, theory and musicality to a degree that demonstrates not only a true mastery of the instrument, but also a real commitment to the student's musical journey."