Amos Hoffman is an Israeli musician who began as a classical guitar player. This musical path changed when he received an oud as a child and taught himself to play it, eventually becoming both a composer and performer. His latest album, Na’ama, features original songs with a strong Middle Eastern flair. Named after his daughter, and dedicated to her along with his son, the album features somewhat surprising instrumentation, including violin, bass, and marimba – the latter being a rather original choice for this sort of musical context. Hoffman’s compositions are noticeably influenced by traditional Arabic music, while primarily exploring an individualistic mix of jazz and pop. The gentle textures and rhythms soothe and invigorate. While he’s still a guitar player and teacher, the oud is how Hoffman chooses to make his mark here. In fact, Na’ama is devoid of guitar. This is an understated, but unique and therefore memorable album.