Artist: Amos Hoffman
Catalogue Number: RD4609
Release Date: 12th April 2010
2. Brown Sugar
3. A Minute To Smell The Flowers
5. Self Portrait
7. All Alone
8. Uncle Charlie
9. The Well
10. Abe Baby
Amos Hoffman - Guitar and Oud
Gilad Abro - Contrabass
Amir Bresler - Drums
Ilan Katchka - Percussion
Ilan Salem - Flute, Alto Flute
Avishai Cohen - Electric Bass on track6, and Calabash on track 8
Itamar Doari - Darbuka on track 8
Shai Maestro - Piano on track 11
Genre crossing guitarist and oudist Amos Hoffman's newest release Carving (RazDaz 2010), makes his musical statement in two languages - guitar and oud. From the up tempo, almost danceable oud featured on Brown Sugar, to the scat influenced guitar on Ras, the tracks on Carving weave between instruments and moods, continuing to explore the boundaries of Jazz. Hoffman describes his music on his album as "a bunch of different parts that come together in a way that feels right to me. It's not always straight forward or easy to define, but that's what makes life interesting".
Carving is also a very personal album, inspired by relationships with friends and family. One of the tracks is named after his wife, and three after friends. Ras, for example, is named after Avishai Cohen, whose personal and professional relationships with Amos span the better part 20 years. "I don't start writing a tune with a particular person or idea in mind," says Hoffman, "later it just hits me that the music fits with someone in my life".
The title and cover art, are also close to Hoffman's heart. His Father, Moshe, was a well known artist in Israel, and Hoffman credits him with developing his creativity and love of music. "I called the record Carving partially as a tribute to my Father," Hoffman explains. "Watching him as a child taught me to create with patience. It took a long time to write and arrange these songs, and it reminded me of watching my father sculpt".
Hoffman trusts his musicians and gives them the freedom to find their own voices within the compositions to challenge them and keep their artistic bond strong. This desire to keep the momentum is why he decided to play both guitar and oud on Carving. Though he is probably best known for bringing a Jazz sensibility to Middle Eastern music, here he's done the opposite, taking the oud toward a more funky, Western place. "It's more fun to keep experimenting with the music, to see where it can go."
Accompanying Hoffman on Carving are Ilan Salem (flute) Ilan Katchka (percussion) Gilad Abro (bass) and Amir Bresler (drums). It also features guest appearances by bassist Avishai Cohen, Itamar Doari and, Shai Maestro.
Hoffman can be heard on numerous recordings, including Ben Wolfe's 13 Sketches (1997,) Jay Collins' Cross Culture (1999,) and Sam Newsome's Sam Newsome and Global Unity (1999.) He has worked with bassist/composer Avishai Cohen for several years, playing both guitar and oud on Cohen's Colors (2000), Adama (1998), Devotion (1999), Continuo (2006) and Aurora (2009).
Carving is Hoffman's fourth solo release, following The Dreamer, released in 1998 on the Spanish label Fresh Sound/New Talent, Na'ama, which he released in 2006 on the Israeli label Magada, and Evolution, released in 2008 on the Razdaz Recordz label.
Amos Hoffman | Razdaz Recordz (2010)
By Eyal Hareuveni
Israeli guitarist and oudist Amos Hoffman reaches a fine balance between his main instruments on this fine recording. The guitar sounds natural and organic in Middle-eastern scales, while the oud fits perfectly in the swinging jazz sensibilities. Hoffman articulates a clear and melodic outline on both instruments, while he crosses genres.
Hoffman is backed by veteran Israeli jazz musicians like bassist/producer Ilan Salem, his friend Avishai Cohenand percussionist Ilan Katchka. Promising young players such as percussionist Itamar Doari and pianist Shai Maestro complete the ensemble. Hoffman dedicates this recording to his father, sculptor Moshe Hoffman, whose painting graces the cover.
Hoffman navigates between different moods and colors. He begins with the breezy and passionate opening, "Monique," named after his partner. He then moves through assured oud playing that carries the rhythm in a festive "Brown Sugar," later taking the oud to funky regions on "Rea." Hoffman adopts a North African call-and-response structure on "Uncle Charlie," while he finds a more relaxing pace on the gentle "A Minute To Smell The Flowers" and the beautiful and moving "Ras," dedicated to Cohen, with whom he regularly performs and records.
His "Self Portrait" is based on a clear though dense guitar line, one that is developed slowly through patient and trusting interplay. The composition features the main characteristics of Hoffman as a musician—it highlights his ability to tell a story through a rich melody, and marks his sense to surround himself with supporting musicians who can adopt his cross-genre vision while leaving them—notably Salem—enough room to express themselves. The most remarkable piece here is a duet between Hoffman on oud and guest pianist Maestro, a track which embodies Hoffman's musical vision.
Track listing: Monique; Brown Sugar; A Minute To Smell The Flowers; Rea; Self Portrait; Ras; All Along; Uncle Charlie; The Well; Abe Baby; Away.
Personnel: Amos Hoffman; guitar, oud; Gilad Abro: acoustic bass; Amir Bresler: drums; Ilan Katchka: percussion; Ilan Salem; flute, alto flute; Avishai Cohen: electric bass; Calabash (#6, 8); Itamar Doari: drabukka (#8); Shai Maestro: piano.
Amos Hoffman, the Israeli django.
All those who were lucky enough to attend a recent concert the quintet Avishai Cohen discovered his side a brilliant guitarist and oud player Amos Hoffman.
With "Carving", his new album produced the bassist Avishai Cohen's label Razdaz Recordz Amos Hoffman continues his quest for a music rooted in jazz and East, merging with swing and understanding these two worlds.
Half composed of tracks played on guitar, the others being performed on oud, "Carving" is full of beautiful compositions, including the funky tubesque and "Brown Sugar", which should, hopefully, offer him the same success in France knows that as his friend bassist, present on a disc title.
Alongside guitarist, four musicians in perfect harmony, Ilan Salem (flute) Ilan Katchka (percussion) Gilad Abro (bass) and Amir Bresler (drums), with the participation of Itamar Doaré (darbuka) and pianist Shai Maestro. Amos Hoffman has a sound and style unique brand of all jazz musicians, book and music with this disc often festive, sometimes melancholy, always inspired. The beautiful artwork, a tribute to Moshe Hoffman, father of musician and renowned painter and sculptor, adds to the beauty of "Carving".
Listen to tracks from "Carving" on the site of Amos Hoffman
Buy the album digitally on the shop Avishai Cohen ($ 12)
Amos Hoffman, le django israélien
Tous ceux qui ont eu la chance d'assister récemment à un concert du quintet d'Avishai Cohen ont pu découvrir à ses côtés un brillant guitariste et joueur de oud, Amos Hoffman.
Avec "Carving", son nouvel album produit sur le label du contrebassiste Avishai Cohen Razdaz Recordz, Amos Hoffman poursuit sa quête d'une musique ancrée dans le jazz et l'Orient, fusionnant avec swing et intelligence ces deux univers.
Composé pour moitié de titres joués à la guitare, les autres étant interprétés au oud, "Carving" recèle de superbes compositions, parmi lesquelles le tubesque et funky "Brown Sugar", qui devrait, on l'espère, lui offrir le même succès en France que celui que connaît son ami bassiste, présent sur un titre du disque.
Aux côtés du guitariste, quatre musiciens en parfaite osmose, Ilan Salem (flûte) Ilan Katchka (percussions) Gilad Abro (basse) et Amir Bresler (batterie), avec la participation d'Itamar Doari (darbouka) et du pianiste Shai Maestro. Amos Hoffman possède un son et un style unique, marque de tous les grands jazzmen, et livre avec ce disque une musique souvent festive, parfois mélancolique, toujours inspirée. La superbe pochette de l'album, hommage à Moshe Hoffman, père du musicien et célèbre peintre et sculpteur, ajoute encore à la beauté de "Carving".
Ecouter des titres de "Carving" sur le site d'Amos Hoffman
Acheter l'album en digital sur le shop d'Avishai Cohen (12$)