Friday, October 30, 2009
Speaking to drummer Simon Barker in the coffee line at the Hot Jazz Cafe in the new WPAC [Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre] on Saturday morning, I was singing the praises of Ari Hoenig, and it turns out that what I saw, heard, LOVED, at the Ari Hoenig gig on Friday night is something that Ari Hoenig known for...
The first thing I look at in a drummer now, after talking to Simon and seeing Emma Franz's film Intangible Asset #82 is how they sit, how they play, what their body is doing. Ari Hoenig seems to have a combination of ready and relaxed. I love the way he sits on his stool. He's watchful, poised and responsive.
The Ari Hoenig Quartet (with Gilad Hekselman, guitar; Jamie Oehlers, saxophone and Sam Anning, bass) was my first music of the festival. I had left my pen with the sticky tape and stuff and all I had in my bag was a 'sharpie' one of those thick texta things. No finesse. My notes are rough, but my memory is clear. The interaction between the players was wonderful. 'Here I am', I thought. At Wangaratta again. Some great interaction. Gilad Hekselman's guitar and Jamie Oehler's saxophone holding conversations. 'Light tension' are the words that stand out from my notes. Threads of sound and light moved between the players and it was as good to watch as it was to listen to.
The highlight for me was 'Moanin'', the Bobby Timmons tune made famous by Art Blakey. Ari played the melody, with for a moment, Jamie providing rhythm with the tenor saxophone. Using his elbow apply varied pressure to the drum skin (is that what it's called??) this amazing drummer played the notes and the spaces, creating a sound that didn't even sound percussive. All these notes flowing, with pauses... and best of all this feeling on the stage of fun, of barely surpressed laughter and wonder, that spread from us in the audience up to them and back to us again. Hah!
Picture by Francesco Truono from Ari Hoenig's website http://www.arihoenig.com/