Guitarist and oudist Amos Hoffman and pianist and composer Noam Lemish traveled to Buffalo on Saturday, June 2nd to perform music from their new CD, Pardes. This was the duo’s first stop on a tour to present an album of collaborative works featuring new compositions that fuse Jewish and Middle Eastern folkloric melodies with jazz.
For the audience who attended this special concert at Pausa Art House, it may have seemed that they were magically transported from the intimate venue to Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East. Hoffman and Lemish have been collecting Jewish melodies from far away lands. These include Kurdish, Yemenite, Moroccan, Russian, Central Asian, and Israeli songs. As they presented songs, Lemish provided historical context as to the roots of the songs or melodies. Giving the audience the mental telepathy to transport to a different part of the world.
Hoffman is the rarest of international jazz guitarists. One of the world’s preeminent performers on the traditional oud guitar. The unique sound of the oud articulate the roots of Jewish melodies with bright vibrancy. Lemish is a prolific pianist. Precise lyrical combinations jump off the keys during Lemish’s solos. The quartet was rounded out by bassist Sam Edwards from South Carolina and Buffalo-based drummer, John Bacon, Jr. Bacon melded beautifully with the arrangements by providing rhythmic jazz patterns that gave songs their needed percussive background.
It was a great night of worldly international jazz. Traditional Jewish and Middle Eastern folkloric songs and melodies reimagined into astonishing jazz compositions and arrangements. The release of Pardes is an album that has been in the works for a couple of years. Fortunately for us, we can now take a journey with this stellar team to the places they’ve collected their melodies.
Here is a clip from their performance. Enjoy this extended version of true musical magic: