Guitar and oud player Amos Hoffman, who has been performing and recording as a member of Avishai Cohen’s band for more than two decades, will release Evolution, his debut CD on Cohen’s Razdaz Recordz, on March 25 2008.
Since relocating to his native Israel in 1999 after years on the New York jazz scene, Hoffman has spent the time since the release of his last CD (2006’s Na’ama, on the Israeli label Magada) further pursuing his passion for combining jazz with Middle Eastern music. The result of this multi-cultural fusion is Evolution, a ten track exploration of melodies and rhythms that incorporates compositional and improvisational elements common to both musical genres. “I tried to achieve a unique sound that combined some African rhythmic influence played by percussion and contrabass, with Middle Eastern melodies played by the oud and flute,” explains Hoffman. “The most important thing for me was that the positive vibe and round, warm groove would continue throughout the record.”
Hoffman is joined on Evolution by his long-time friend and musical associate Avishai Cohen, who performs on contrabass and piano and contributes vocals. “Amos to me is a great example of a free spirit, with a strong artistic direction,” says Cohen. “I’m a fan.” Rounding out the CD’s line up are two of Israel’s most prominent musicians - ethnic percussionist Ilan Katchka and flautist Ilan Salem.
Hoffman first learned to play guitar at the age of 6, and took up the oud a few years later. After attending the prestigious Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, his search for new musical experiences led him first to Amsterdam, and then to New York City, where he performed and recorded with both legendary jazz musicians such as Denis Charles, Evelyn Blakey, and Jumma Santos, as well as with emerging jazz artists such as Jason Linder, Omer Avital, Sam Newsome, Jay Collins, Jorge Rossy, Duane Eubanks, and Avishai Cohen. He also began a more formal study of Middle Eastern music with Lebanese oud and ney player, Bassam Saba.
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 Continuo (2006,), Colors (2000,) Devotion (1999,) and Adama (1998.)
Evolution is Hoffman’s third solo release, following The Dreamer, released in 1998 on the Spanish label Fresh Sound/New Talent, and Na’ama, which he released in 2006 on the Israeli label Magada.