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.”