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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ari Hoenig: Lines of Oppression

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When Bill Evans began building trios that represented a collaboration of equals rather than soloist accompanied by rhythm section, it's unlikely the late pianist could have envisioned the way Jean-Michel Pilc, bassist François Moutin and drummer Ari Hoenig wowed fans at a 2011 Ottawa International Jazz Festival performance. Bringing new meaning to the phrase “egalitarian," each and every member was clearly capable of pushing the music in a new direction, so keenly attuned were they to each other. Hoenig, in particular, seemed a mad instigator, grinning fiercely as he pushed his elbow down on his snare hard, turning it from ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Ari Hoenig Quartet: Niu's Jazz & Blues Bar, Bangkok

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Ari Hoenig Quartet Niu's Jazz & Blues Bar Silom, Bangkok, Thailand November 5, 2009

There is no other drummer quite like New Yorker Ari Hoenig. Watching him play is like marveling at a cross between Animal, the wild drummer of Muppets fame, and Max Roach. His approach to drumming is intense above all, ferocious even at times, and yet his harmonic manipulation of his kit is subtlety itself. The crowd at Niu's Jazz & Blues Bar saw both faces of Hoenig on the opener, an original take on Charlie Parker's eternally popular “Billie's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ari Hoenig: Bert's Playground

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The varied contexts in which drummers play make their own sessions as leaders either spottily uneven or dynamically diverse. For Bert's Playground, drummer Ari Hoenig has gathered a troop of six musicians that includes two bassists, guitarists and saxophonists that he mixes and matches to illuminate the fun to be had. After receiving a gentle push from Hoenig and bassist Matt Penman, guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and tenor saxophonist Chris Potter swing hard on Trane's “Moment's Notice." Guitarist Gilad Hekselman and bassist Orlando Fleming transform Jerome Kern's beautiful “The Way You Look Tonight" into a sandbox for boppy ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Ari Hoenig and Punk Bop at the Regattabar, Boston

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Ari Hoenig and Punk Bop Regattabar Boston, Massachusetts April 8, 2008 On Tuesday, April 8, drummer Ari Hoenig and his Punk Pop trio featuring Gilad Hekselman on guitar and Orlando LeFleming on bass played at Boston's Regattabar. Although he can be heard as a sideman on numerous recordings and performances with artists such as Kenny Werner, Jean-Michel Pilc, Chris Potter and Kurt Rosenwinkel, Hoenig has made a unique niche for himself as a melodic drummer and composer capable of reproducing complex bebop melodies on the drums note for note. Since the release ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ari Hoenig: Inversations

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Drummer Ari Hoenig has always created emotionally satisfying and challenging jazz, and his streak continues with Inversations. The bebop classic “Anthropology begins with an interplay between Hoenig on drums and pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, with bassist Johannes Weidenmueller on pizzicato. The trio executes this classic jazz groove to perfection, playing with the tempo and displaying the tune's plasticity. “Dark News, an impressionistic yet sly piece written by Hoenig, complete with haunting piano and moody arco, begins as though it will be a free piece but Hoenig throws the listener a head fake by having it become something more conventional.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ari Hoenig: Inversations

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There is nothing unusual about drummers as leaders (Blakey, Max Roach, Roy Haynes), or drummers taking less-traveled roads while soloing (Eric Harland, Brian Blade). Ari Hoenig follows both these arcs on Inversations, although there's no question the former Joe Lovano sideman works to separate himself from the current pack.

Hoenig and his compatriots, pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, bassist Johannes Weidenmueller, are thinking outside the box from the jump, starting with their take on the Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie proto-bop composition “Anthropology. The bop attitude is there, but the music is filtered through an avant-garde sensibility that makes the base tune ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Ari Hoenig: Kinetic Hues

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The Ari Hoenig Group Kinetic Hues Smalls Records 2005

With the advent of easily available digital technology, it has become easier for anyone to make semi-professional videos. Nowadays, practically anyone with a digital camera and a computer can produce and release, say, a music DVD--even if the quality of the images isn't exactly that great. Recorded live at Greenwich Village's Fat Cat, the music is unquestionably fine, but the video is sometimes hard to watch. The cameras do close-ups at the wrong times--during a hot piano solo by Jean-Michel Pilc, the ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Ari Hoenig: Kinetic Hues

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The Ari Hoenig Group Kinetic Hues Smalls Records 2005

When truly creative artists get together, they issue a memorable proclamation. Ari Hoenig and Jean-Michel Pilc throw ideas around the room like rockets and missiles, as they work out in the intimate performance space at Fat Cat with a live audience to spur them on. Their music rains fire all night long.

Since it's Hoenig's date, the camera emphasizes his work ethic much of the time. You can see the effort pouring into the stickwork that he applies liberally, as he ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

The Solo Recordings of Ari Hoenig

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As evidenced by his two solo recordings, Time Travels (1K Recordings) and The Life Of A Day (Ah Ha Records), Ari Hoenig is an unusually resourceful artist who transcends the limitations of working with a conventional four-piece drum kit and a few cymbals. Introducing a system of replicating the exact pitches of melodies, Hoenig plays a cornucopia of songs, ranging from jazz standards ("Caravan," “Oleo," “Night In Tunisia") to less-than-fashionable ditties ("Pop Goes The Weasel," “Reveille," “I've Been Workin' On The Railroad"), and integrates improvisations that often quote from the themes. The discs' 36 tracks include a number of Hoenig's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ari Hoenig: The Painter

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Drummer Ari Hoenig has just released The Painter , an octet of songs recorded either live or in closed session at Fat Cat, the phoenix from the ashes of what had been the legendary Greenwich Village club Smalls, which shut its doors last year.The bulk of the songs are composed by Hoenig, but a dazzling version of Monk's “I Mean You" opens things up. He lays down a Roach-like opening snare groove, dancing nimbly with pianist Jean-Michel Pilc and the strong, persistent plucking of bassist Matt Penman. Hoenig's solo is dynamic, with Pilc supplying punctuation.

The title track follows, the ...

DISTRICT JAZZ

Bohemian Revolution: Ari Hoenig at Twins Jazz

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I ordered a drink from Twins Jazz’s master of ceremonies, Joseph Beasley, whose ever-pleasant attitude and energy single-handedly warmed the club’s otherwise somewhat cool atmosphere and took a look around the room. It was still early. On stage, surrounding the bass, drums, and propped open music cases lay a jumble of loose sheet music, lead wires and half-empty glasses. In one corner, threatening to bury drummer and band leader Ari Hoenig’s beautiful, custom made set, stood a precarious heap of bags, cases, and un-mounted toms. Balanced on the edge of the club’s scarred and notoriously tuneless piano, was a jerry-rigged ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ari Hoenig: The Painter

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Few drummers assume the role of composer—and with rare exception when they do, the results often sacrifice the finer points of melodic and harmonic development in favor of arrangements focused on complex tempo changes, dynamic shifts, unusual rhythmic structures, and of course, extra-long drum solos. While such pieces often successfully—and justifiably—illustrate overlooked and under-appreciated aspects of drumming, they are also likely to lack broad appeal. As exhibited on The Painter, however, virtuoso instrumentalist, bandleader, arranger, and composer Ari Hoenig is an exception. Hoenig has developed an unusual capacity to create compositions as memorable for their depth as their exploration of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ari Hoenig: The Life of a Day

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The worldwide botherhood of the drums is hereby kicked in the pants! Ari Hoenig's work in the ensembles of Jean-Michel Pilc, Seamus Blake, Jonathan Kreisberg, Pat Martino, and Wayne Krantz has extended the art of jazz drumming into the future. He's done this via telepathic interaction with soloists, forging his own brand of swing and exerting an absolutely uncanny ability to mine melodicism from the kit. For most drummers, continuing on this road of excellence would be enough.

Now, unaccompanied on solo drums, the 30-year old Hoenig accomplishes the rare feat of issuing a recording that goes beyond extending to ...



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