If the coining of the term “punk rock” indicated a stripping away of the stodgy habits and bloated fripperies that were plaguing rock music in the 1970s, then “Punk Bop” seems a fitting sobriquet for the band of young trailblazers that accompany Ari Hoenig on Bert’s Playground, his second release for Dreyfus Records. Though the drummer’s name stands alone on the CD’s cover, most of the musicians who play on it frequently appear live under the Punk Bop mantle.
Hoenig’s band of punks doesn’t reject or deface the tradition from which they emerge; instead, they simply aim to reinvigorate it. Bert’s Playground is unabashedly a straightahead jazz record, free of the hyphenates that distinguish the new paths traveled by many of Hoenig’s contemporaries. But it’s also undeniably aware of and impacted by those influences.