Curioso follows the release of a single track from the CD several weeks ago entitled Hefti," Hoffman's tribute to his former composition professor, the late Neal Hefti.
'Hefti' makes you smile with its delicate riffs and uplifting swing," said DJ Jelly Roll Justice of WWOZ-FM in New Orleans.
'Hefti' is one of those great tunes that is instantly recognizable within two to four notes [of the opening lick]--no easy achievement, and very satisfying, said Preston Ryback, composer, arranger, orchestrator, and owner of Shore Club Studios in Vancouver, BC.
The Curioso project began as a compilation of various jazz tunes Hoffman had written over two years, representing as many styles of jazz as there are tracks on the CD. He initially entitled the quickly mastered collection Jazz" and intended to use it to pitch tunes to TV and film projects.
After circulating what I thought was the finished product for a few months, I was delighted by the response," Hoffman said. So, two years after the initial project was completed, I decided to remix and re-master all tracks for wide release and at the same time rename the CD Curioso after my favorite piece in the collection."
Producer and engineer Jerod Jacobs of Charlotte, NC, co-mixed and co-mastered the CD with Hoffman.
Curioso combines tunes that are inspired by other musicians' work with tracks that were inspired by events in the artist's life. Besides, Hefti," which channels the light, lyrical work of Neal Hefti, there's Pontified," Hoffman's take on the late '70s music of Jean-Luc Ponty; Introspective," smooth jazz reminiscent of David Benoit; and the Vince Guaraldi influence apparent on Curioso.
For Q," Hoffman wanted to capture what he observed as the calm strength" of a former piano student of his who was battling a brain tumor during the three years he worked with her. A friend who died suddenly inspired Bender."
I imagined a desolate night in NYC as a reflection of my sadness over his passing." Hoffman said.
Other tracks are more lighthearted, such as Thumbs," which evolved from a spontaneous rhythm Hoffman started playing on his desk one day, literally with my thumbs." Dog Days," which features a soulful sax solo by Tim Gordon," represents a winding down during the Dog Days of summer. And G Min" is a modern jazz swing piece that offers up a John Sharp guitar solo.
Hoffman is as well-known for his vocal performances as his instrumentals, but Curioso" contains only one vocal piece, Aila Leya." He explains:
I was looking for syllables that fit the melody and sang the first thing that came to mind. I then went to a word meaning reference and found that both of these actually mean something! This one is reminiscent of the jazz-rock of the late '70s to early '80s."
When Hoffman circulated the initial release of the collection, Gary Dalkin, editor of Film Music on the Web, wrote in a review: Hoffman brings a light, fluid grace to his eloquent improvisations, the tone largely optimistic though shot through with an enquiring spirit which adds an intriguing melodic quirk to the disc."
The artist is hoping for many more positive reviews now that the remixed and re-mastered Curioso" is available.
Tracks from the CD can be heard on Marc Hoffman's website www.marchoffman.com. Samples are available on Amazon.com. The entire CD can be purchased at Amazon.com
About Marc Hoffman:
Composer/pianist/vocalist Marc Hoffman received his degree in composition from the North Carolina School of the Arts and studied film composition at the University of Southern California. He also attended The Dartington International Summer School of Music in Devon, England. His composition teachers have included David Ott, Leo Arnaud, Neal Hefti, and Sherwood Shaffer. A member of BMI and the American Composer's Forum, he is also founder and artistic director of the Salisbury School of Music. He lives in Salisbury with is wife, Anne, and their daughter August. For more information on Marc Hoffman and his work, visit marchoffman.com. He can also be found on Facebook under Marc Hoffman Music, on MySpace, and on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com).