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Ari Hoenig: The Painter

An innovative drummer cast in Roy Haynes’ ultracreative, ever-swinging mold is Ari Hoenig (a regular with Kenny Werner and Jean-Michel Pilc’s trios and Joshua Redman’s Elastic Band). On his debut as a leader, The Painter (Smalls), Hoenig introduces his quartet with Pilc on piano, Matt Penman on bass and Jacques Schwarz-Bart on tenor sax at a live gig at the Fat Cat in New York City.

A remarkable player with an uncommon penchant for melodicism on the kit, Hoenig has already put out two amazing solo drum recordings in which he plays the heads to familiar jazz standards by playing strictly skins, shells and cymbals with nothing more than sticks, brushes, mallets, hands and elbows. The Philadelphia-born, New York-based drummer swings fervently with brushes before switching to sticks and unleashing behind Pilc’s pyrotechnic keyboard work on the blazing opener, a stunning trio rendition of Monk’s “I Mean You” (catch his melodic quoting of the head at the tag).

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