Ari Hoenig: Kinetic Hues

Ernest Barteldes By

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The Ari Hoenig Group
Kinetic Hues
Smalls Records

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 camera zeroes in on Hoenig and during one scene saxophonist Jaques Schwarz-Bart is seen fumbling with what appears to be a cellphone while a cameraman crawls around the stage.

As far as the set itself goes, the video is quite enjoyable. The group takes George Gershwin's "Summertime to a very personal place—Hoenig plays his drums subtly during most of the song, surprising us with some tom-tom work and, as you can see on the video, he seems like he can feel the music he is playing in every part of his body. On Coltrane's "Giant Steps, they surprise the audience with a false ending, when Pilc takes the song to a different beat for a moment, quickly returning to the original groove and finally coming to the real ending.

The piano becomes a percussive instrument on "Invitation —during Matt Penman's bass solo, Pilc reaches inside the piano and blocks one of the key's hammers while pushing it with his right hand, effectively transforming the instrument. Later on the set they take on Dizzy's "Con Alma and pay tribute to Monk by making his "I Mean You sound as if it were their own song.

This DVD is for music fans who want to experience a set as "real" as it gets. There are no clever visual effects or special editing—just four musicians on a sparsely decorated stage doing what they do best on a New York night.

Tracks: Giant Steps; Pilcing Around; Summertime; Invitation; For Tracy; Con Alma; I Mean You; Ska

Personnel: Ari Hoenig: drums; Jean-Michel Pilc: piano; Matt Penman: bass; Jacques Schwarz-Bart: tenor saxophone.

Production Notes: Total time: 74:15. Recorded and videotaped 9/12/03 live at Fat Cat, New York City.

Visit Ari Hoenig on the web.


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