There are moments when any jazz concert performance deserves to be immortalized both on CD and film or video. Kinetic Hues serves as an example.
Hoenig is one of the fastest rising drummers in jazz today. Reminding us that the drum is still a percussion instrument makes him unique. Shot in New York's Fat Cats on September 12th (2003) Hoenig, along with pianist Jean-Michel Pilc and bassist Matt Penman, form a tight, yet adventurous unit that works in a smart intimate setting. Four of the tracks performed live were recorded at that same night for Hoenig's debut release "The Painter".
With standards like Coltrane's "Giant Steps" and Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma," Hoenig and the band pick up the pace highlighting the drummer's cut to the chase tempo. Pilc is a clever musician whose chords are strong enough for anyone to pay attention to him and remain solid and fluid. Penman is competent with his improvisational style of bass playing. "Summertime" is one of the highlights as Hoenig gets into the Joe Cocker body language style of drumming starting with his elbows and timpani sticks to increasing the speed with a ferocious solo. By the time the two bandmates join in, Penman pumps up the rhythm while Pilc blends in with a subtle, engaging performance that's closer to classical and ending on a high crescendo.
On originals including "Ska" and "Pilcing Around," Hoenig and the crew come into their own especially with his freestyle drumming. "For Tracy" is a sweet ballad that, at times, turns dark and works very well, blending all three performers together playing as if each has a catharsis to overcome.
If you enjoy Ari Hoenig, Kinetic Hues is a must see. Although the sound quality on the DVD is enjoyable, the visuals were a bit rough.