Ari Hoenig

Kinetic Hues: Live at Fat Cat

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Recorded during the same two nights as the Ari Hoenig Group's CD The Painter (which also features four performances heard on that release), this live DVD videotaped at Fat Cat (formerly Smalls) in Greenwich Village also celebrates the debut recording of this adventurous group. Drummer and leader Ari Hoenig is an intense individual who isn't shy about showing it on his face during a performance. His powerful band includes pianist Jean-Michel Pilc (a fine leader and composer in his own right) and bassist Matt Penman, with tenor saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart added on selected tracks. Their explosive opener is "Giant Steps," which covers a lot of ground and features each member of the rhythm section in turn. The leader's haunting "Pilcing Around" introduces the saxophonist, though his role is to hover near the theme, as the rest of the band seems to play independently of one another at times. The old chestnut "Summertime" opens with a drum solo, then Pilc's abstract blend of tremolos and wild chords finally give way to a distinct but different rendering of its well-known theme. The full quartet is present for the multifaceted treatment of "Invitation" that shifts its stylistic leanings every few bars, ranging from an ominous post-bop setting to Latin jazz and free jazz. Another twist is the arrangement of "Con Alma," in which the members of the rhythm section all clap or play hand percussion on their instruments, but this easygoing favorite by Dizzy Gillespie evolves into a spirited workout that stretches it far beyond anything that the late trumpeter might have played. Thelonious Monk's "I Mean You" is transformed into a far-ranging post-bop vehicle that shift gears constantly during its wild journey. While the odd layout of Fat Cat (and its cramped stage) limit the variety of camera angles that can be used, the sound and performances document the birth of a group that is sure to make a lasting impression in the jazz world.

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