After establishing himself as a composer and performer of film, theatre, pop, and gospel music, Marc Hoffman began pursuing his passion for jazz in the early 1990s. As a pianist and vocalist, Marc performs over 90 dates a year with a repertoire of original jazz and his own arrangements of standards, ballads, and pop. He most often performs with his trio, but works as a soloist and with other ensembles as well, at concerts, festivals, clubs, and other public and private events. Marc’s music has been performed across the US and in the UK and Europe by orchestras, other ensembles and soloists.
Marc Hoffman was born in Salisbury, NC, received a degree in composition from the North Carolina School of the Arts, and completed additional study in film composition at the University of Southern California. He has studied at The Dartington International Summer School of Music in Devon, England. His composition teachers have included David Ott, Leo Arnaud, Neil Hefti, and Sherwood Shaffer. He is a member of BMI and the American Composer’s Forum. Marc is also founder and artistic director of the Salisbury School of Music.
Marc’s original instrumental recordings include the newly released Late September – a collection of new pieces featuring jazz trio with guests Tim Gordon on flute and Jon Thornton of trumpet, Curioso – eclectic jazz with Tim Gordon on sax, Grammy nominee John Sharp on guitar, Terry Peoples and Nathan Scott on bass, and Gray Fallin (The Brubakers), Mike Lanier and Ryan Scott on drums and percussion, and Long Way Home – new piano music blending jazz, and light classical.
Vocal recordings include Christmas Time, I Will, and Dream of God.
Marc’s recent film work includes theme and underscore for the TV series, Scienstars (2016) an original score for “40 Fears” for Dalliance Films (2014). Previous fim credits include scoring The Mill (2008) for producer Ralph Singleton and director Grainger Hines, and music historian for the 1985 film, Revolution (1986). In addition, Marc has been music supervisor for several films.
In August of 2010, Virillion Music Publishing released Marc’s first children’s book, Sleep, Little Child with accompanying CD entitled and based on an original lullaby. Marc’s first book and companion DVD, Essential Worship Keyboard was released by Emerald Books in 2007.
Marc Hoffman lives in Salisbury, NC with is wife, Anne and young daughter, August.
“‘Hefti’ [from the CD Curioso] makes you smile with its delicate riffs and uplifting swing.”
— DJ Jelly Roll Justice, WWOZFM, New Orleans, LA
“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… A couple more discs like this… and his infectious, melodic writing and polished musicianship will surely start to win him a serious following.”
— Gary Dalkin, music writer and editor – Film Music on the Web
“Hoffman proves you can go home again…nine original piano pieces in a style that might be described as somewhere between the contemporary approach of Windham Hill with a nod in the direction of Aaron Copland…”
— Gary Dalkin, music writer and editor – Film Music on the Web
“…the Hollywood impressions of Marc Hoffman’s “Middle Earth” made some pieces on the program seem stale and derivative.”
— London Guardian review of U.K. premiere at the Wilde Festival
“I loved this CD — every track! I’m overjoyed to include Curioso and to front sell Marc as one of North Carolina’s artists to look out for.”
— Dionne Maldonado, host of “Cool Ambiance,” WFSS-FM
“‘Hefti’ is one of those great tunes that is instantly recognizable within 2-4 notes (of the opening lick) — no easy achievement, and very satisfying!”
— Preston Ryback, Shore Club Studios, Vancouver
Marc Hoffman: Curioso: Virillion VM0416-5 Review: Gary Dalkin
North Carolina based musician, composer, songwriter Marc Hoffman may just be too talented for his own good. At least for a world which expects artists to do one thing, then keep doing it over with minimal variation equating to maximum commercial gain. Hoffman gifts range from contemporary classical composer to singer-songwriter via film composer, to say nothing of developing an acclaimed series of guitar tutorials and recently penning his first children’s book.
Curioso states its aim simply and definitively. It’s a jazz album delivering 11 Hoffman originals with the disc produced by Hoffman, who performs piano, keyboards, percussion and occasional vocals. Long Way Home (VH-04613), a solo piano disc which featured some jazz flavoured numbers is the closest precedent in Hoffman’s back catalogue, but here he presents a much more ambitious project with an accomplished band comprising John Sharp (guitars), Terry Peoples (bass guitar), Tim Gordon (sax), Gray Fallin (drums/percussion) and Mike Lanier (drums/percussion: two tracks only).
It’s worth taking note of these musicians, who may not be household names but are talents of a high order. It is testament to Hoffman’s music that he is able to attract the likes of John Sharpe, who has played or recorded with The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Jimmy Buffett, Brook Benton, The Diamonds, performed widely with various bands in Europe and released the well- received solo album Better Than Dreams. Sharpe shared a Grammy nomination for writing the title track of drums/percussion maestro Jim Brock’s album Pasajes, touring through the 1990’s with Brock’s band.
As well as being a permanent member of Nashville’s Mr Groove and a leading session musician for artists across America, Tim Gordon tours regularly with The Four Tops and The Temptations. Terry Peoples played bass for the jazz pianist Loonis McGlohan. In more recent years he has been an international freelance musician, recording with artists such as Mike Campbell and Eileen Farrell. Mike Lanier is an NC native most notably associated with The Breeze Band while Gray Fallin is a stalwart of The Brubakers.
From the onset Curioso is characterized by strong melody, concentrated rhythm and tight instrumental interplay, question and answer dialogues deftly shifting between piano, sax or guitar. 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 opening two numbers, ‘Hefti’, in homage to Neil, and ‘G Min’ compliment one another as up-beat group pieces, ‘Introspective’ adding a touch of breezy melancholy to what is essentially a piano piece with percussion backing. ‘Dog Days’ is a very laid-back number, the relaxed guitar workout and electric piano moving into drivetime- smooth jazz territory.
Hoffman conducts a lyrical dialogue with himself on ‘Q’, the vibrant melody which is eventually picked- up by electric guitar having an almost cinematic sense of the freedom of wide open spaces. ‘Bender’, written in memory of a friend who died suddenly in the summer of 2007, celebrates a spirit as much as it mourns a loss, a tenderness running though the music which refuses to surrender to darkness. ‘Theme #2’ is virtually a solo piano piece accompanied by very low-key percussion and bass. Here Hoffman showcases a rich melody through a series of brief variations which have the quality of classic Americana, from old-time hymns to Coplandesque expanse. One can imagine this orchestrated as a the valedictory finale to an Oscar-nominated home-town drama. ‘Thumbs’ has a sassy syncopated swagger and feather-light lilt which suggests, at least for a moment, all is well in the world. Though Hoffman would never claim to be a Pat Metheny fan ‘Aila Leya’ bears the Metheny hallmarks of stratospheric, processed vocals over electric guitar (think of Metheny’s Imaginary Day period), the number morphing into the kind of synth workout one might expect from Bela Fleck on one of his band albums with Futureman, or perhaps Rick Wakeman grooving away on a 70’s Yes classic. Unfortunately its all over too soon, something which might be said of several tracks on this disc, which rather than outstay their welcome expire before they have reached their full potential. One might hope for Hoffman to push his material further into some really extended improvisations. ‘Curioso’ is an amiable stroll though classic piano, bass, drums jazz trio territory, while the closing ‘Pontified’ pays uplifting tribute to Jean Luc.
Curioso is a strong, diverse album which really demonstrates that, talented as Hoffman is in other areas, jazz is his true forte. A couple more discs like this, especially if he gains the confidence to develop some more expansive, exploratory tracks, and his infectious, melodic writing and polished musicianship will surely start to win him a serious following.
Hoffman Branches Out, March 10, 2008 By P. E. Garrett (Greenville, SC,)
Marc Hoffman is nothing if not versatile. He is a performer and composer as well as an educator. Though having written and performed in many genres, and for the screen, orchestra and solo performance among others, his latest endeavor, released on his own Virillion label, is titled simply ”Curioso.”
But simple is not a suitable adjective for this fresh and diverse recording. With Curioso, Mr. Hoffman, who wrote the charts, and produced the disc in his studio not far from Charlotte, NC, shows a maturity that comes from years of experience in performance and composition.
The opening track, “HEFTI” features the spirited sax playing of Tim Gordon in an upbeat piece that is a good jumping off point for the rest of the album. Marc’s piano virtuosity is highlighted on “G min”, a song reminiscent of the 60’s era “Cool School.” The evocative “Introspective” will probably have you hitting the “repeat” button on your CD player a few times.
That Marc was able to attract world class musicians the likes of the Grammy nominated guitarist Sharpe, and Gordon, the perennial Four Tops’ saxophonist to the sleepy little micropolis of Salisbury, NC speaks well of his stature as a musician. He explores many different styles here ending with a jazz violin piece dedicated to Jean luc Ponty.
This disc will find a nice home in your car’s player and may be there for the long haul.