Ari Hoenig

September 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ari Hoenig has been playing Cornelia with his own groups and the configurations of others for over 10 years. His Quartet began when he met and became permanent collaborators with Gilad Hekselman, one of his classmates at the New School. He later met Orlando le Fleming, a jazz bassist who used to play professional cricket for Devon in the UK. (Wikipedia reports he was a “right-handed batsman who bowled right-arm medium pace.”) “In truth, a bassist who used to play cricket is exactly what my music needed,” Hoenig explained me earlier this week. This is plausible rationale for a musician known to produce chromatic scales from drum heads using only his wrists and elbows. Their onstage quartet was filled out when Gilad brought a young jazz pianist named Shai Maestro to one of their regular gigs at Smalls. Shai sat in with them and so impressed Hoenig with his playing that he got brought in to play this weekend at the Cafe.

Hoenig gave a deftly zen response to The Critical Reaction Question. “A grain of salt seems like too much credit, even,” he said. “It’s really what you think about your music and your playing that matters. No matter what the review, it’s not going to affect the way I think or the way I play. It might affect the way I feel…but that’s where confidence comes in. You’ve gotta be confident in your own work.” That confidence radiates not only from his well-growing accolades, but moreover from a basic belief that Hoenig from his vantage at the drumset cockpit can intuit better than anyone how the performance is going. “I know a good show when I’m in the middle of it. I know when every note’s played. If I’m inside the music and everyone’s communicating a good way and it’s coming through fresh each time, that’s what counts.”

The Ari Hoenig Quartet appears tonight at 9 and 10:30pm. More info, including for reservations, at


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