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RobertM 06-21-2013 03:39 AM

Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Just learned about this drummer named Jim Black via Mark Guiliana--very cool player with a variety of musical projects. There is an interesting interview with him in JazzTimes (Web) where he comments on tracks JT staff play for him blind, to see if he knows the players, what his thoughts are, etc. The first track they play for him is Ari Hoenig's arrangement of Monk's
“Rhythm/Rhythm-a-Ning” (from Lines of Oppression, 2010), and Jim's response opens up a line of argument that Branford Marsalis has also raised about today's younger generation of jazz players (italics added below for emphasis):

Quote:

"I don’t know who it is. Obviously these are killing younger players; I’m guessing late 20s, early 30s. I’m sure I know who they are, although I don’t recognize their sounds offhand—actually, [I don’t recognize] anybody’s. That was a blur—a nice blur, but I don’t understand why this generation can’t write their own music, or players don’t choose to play their own music more. Why must they do that to a Monk tune? The idea’s nice, but there were so many things going on. I have to say, my heart doesn’t respond much to that way of playing. I know it’s a very popular way of playing now, and a lot of guys are doing it in different ways and the conservatory students are impressed by it. But this obsession with complexity, I just don’t get it. The idea of making endless variations—I don’t know. My question is, how many ideas do you need to rearrange somebody’s music with? I don’t know what else to say about this, exactly."
Exactly. Couldn't agree more, having dealt with younger students in jazz combos. Make the music swing and feel good, first and foremost.

Numberless 06-21-2013 08:32 AM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Why must Charlie Parker reharmonize Indiana and play it as Donna Lee? Ugh why can't he just swing and stop doing all that crazy bebop stuff, freaking flatted 5ths ruining our jazz!

I don't get why does it have to be one extreme or the other, obviously Ari can swing and make the music feel good (the first tune in Lines of Opression is a great example of that) so why not experiment? I just don't get why can't both ways of playing coexist? I dig the traditional stuff and the crazy stuff.

toddbishop 06-21-2013 05:33 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
The rest of his response is good, too:

Quote:

(interviewer) This tune is not necessarily representative of the rest of the album. There are only three covers and the other tracks are originals by the drummer-composer-bandleader.

(Black) Yeah, and itís cool. I played in Tiny Bell Trio with Dave Douglas and we played covers. But there were only a few parameters that he would address in a cover tune. Iím sure itís heartfelt in the way they do it here and why they do it. But it kind of leaves meóitís sort of all over the map in a way that I canít quite grip all of it: the Indian rhythmic variations with the Monk tune, and even the way theyíre playing, where they throw licks around and everything. Which is again Ö cute. But I donít know how much of that I can take, though, when I listen to music. Thin it out just a little bit, for me.

I began to notice this some years ago with guys that were in their 20s and early 30s that were well educated and all great players, but Iím waiting to see what it turns into. Iím waiting to see if it gets just a little more personal as a complete picture. I would rather hear someone fail with their own music than maybe try something like this. I mean, itís amazing, but my heart doesnít respond that much to it. Is this [pianist] Jean-Michel Pilc? I know his trio does standards with endless variations of tunes. Iím wise to it, and I love the idea of playing standards and tunes, but I need to find a way thatís a little more legit and not so obvious in terms of Ö I donít know. I hate to say it, but I feel like itís a little exploitive in a weird way.

AFTER: Again, theyíre all really good players, I just donít understand the direction sometimes. Of course Ari is a great drummer. I know who he is, my students know who he is. Heís part of the community. Actually, I didnít know who he was until my students told me about him, and I checked him out. I know what heís into, Iíve watched his videos. I just donít feel that much when I listen to it. Itís just a taste thing, and taste is everything. Theyíre really good, but I can tell you, for sure, itís not my taste. It is what it is. I think thereís room in the world for all of it, but itís not my way. It loses me a little bit.
Listening to the track on Hoenig's site, I can definitely hear where Black is coming from. What do you say about music that is completely dazzling, but leaves you feeling kind of... nothing? I've been trying to get my head around that for a long time. I thought it might be some kind of fear response, but I love all kinds of scary-good players. I never listen to Jack Dejohnette or Tony Williams or Joey Baron and come away feeling like what I heard was all about their talent.

dmacc 06-21-2013 05:53 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Only my opinion but this controversy (or similar ones) has transcended from generation generation. I agree that it's fine if they both exist together. I recall reading some of the posts Armstrong was quoted back in Downbeat when he did a blindfold. He bashed plenty. Likewise, plenty bashed him. I'm sure there's plenty more as well to be had/found on the same topic.

Jazz is so much about interpretation so as a result the rehashing and reworking of existing songs I'm not sure will ever go away. To me, this is good but at the same time I enjoy listening to original material.

Anthony Amodeo 06-21-2013 08:58 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by toddbishop (Post 1153615)
I never listen to Jack Dejohnette or Tony Williams or Joey Baron and come away feeling like what I heard was all about their talent.


love this quote Todd

it says so much more than the words read

RobertM 06-22-2013 04:55 AM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony Amodeo (Post 1153672)
love this quote Todd

it says so much more than the words read

I agree. Todd, this is a great way to frame this issue--and I too had Joey Baron in mind: he has awesome talent, has played all kinds of standard to highly experimental gigs, but he manages always to stay musical in a very accessible way.

gretsch-o-rama 06-22-2013 12:56 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Im sorry but this quote coming from Jim Black (whom I have heard) to negatively critique Hoenig is almost laughable...Hoenig has to be one of the best Jazz drummers in the world today...Jim Black is most certainly not. So, I think care needs to be taken when looking up at people because it's easy to come off as coming from a jealous/insecure place. It reminds me of "those who can play it will, those who can't, teach" even though that's not entirely applicable here...

Jeff Almeyda 06-22-2013 01:29 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by gretsch-o-rama (Post 1153884)
Im sorry but this quote coming from Jim Black (whom I have heard) to negatively critique Hoenig is almost laughable...Hoenig has to be one of the best Jazz drummers in the world today...Jim Black is most certainly not. So, I think care needs to be taken when looking up at people because it's easy to come off as coming from a jealous/insecure place. It reminds me of "those who can play it will, those who can't, teach" even though that's not entirely applicable here...

Honestly, that's the first impression that I had as well. I'm not a jazz player so I cannot comment on the validity of his comments but I feel that Jim took a specific example of a cover that Ari did and over-generalized it to somehow represent the 20-30 something year old jazz musician.

Todd, nice quote.

Anthony Amodeo 06-22-2013 02:51 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
I have to admit I had not read the quote until I saw the last two responses by gretsch and Jeff......

in my opinion Black sounds like an arrogant ignorant fool

what pro in this day and age publicly speaks that way about his peers as if he is some untouchable legend ....... especially after a "blind listen" ......I suspect he knew exactly who he was listening to .. ..completely unwarranted

and for someone who sounds like every avant player in Brooklyn he has an awful lot to say about one having their own sound and being recognizable.

I'll take Hoenig over Black any and every day of the week

in all honesty .....Ari IS everything Jim WANTS to be

not a good look on Mr. Blacks part......shame on him

....and just a quick question.....does he know what jazz is all about and been all about since its inception ?....just curious

it's about expression and interpretation.......and often someones interpretation of someone else's tune........what great jazz musician in the history of this music has not interpreted someone else's piece on their records ?

Black just went down a few notches in my book

Griener 06-22-2013 04:54 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Wow, these discussions go out of control fast.

If Jim Black "sounds like every avant player in Brooklyn" it's probably because he's playing like that for 25 and more years and I can tell you back then "avant players in Brooklyn" sounded a lot different.
So it might be they sound a lot like him now.
And he easily is "one of the best jazz drummer in the world today" if you have to think in those terms.
I'm following the careers of both players since I first saw them (Black back in '90, Hoenig in '99) and as Jim says: it's all about taste.

I completely understand Jim's points and I don't think that he did put down Ari's playing.
But I listened to Rhythm-a-Ning on Ari's website and I must honestly say that I don't like that version either.
Younger players these days (although Ari's not that young) seem to favor a kind of complexity which just doesn't get me emotionally.
Their thing is more about control really and I don't necessarily think control is the most important issue in music, at least for my taste.
But maybe I'm just getting old (I'm 45 now) and over-the-top playing is mostly a young man's game.

There’s room in the world for all of it, so take it easy...

Anthony Amodeo 06-22-2013 06:36 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Griener (Post 1153932)

If Jim Black "sounds like every avant player in Brooklyn" it's probably because he's playing like that for 25 and more years and I can tell you back then "avant players in Brooklyn" sounded a lot different.
So it might be they sound a lot like him now.\

nope....they sounded like that when he got here fresh outta Berklee sounding like a fusion bomb exploded

I have nothing against Jim
he is a nice guy and a good player .....I dig his playing very much ....he does a lot of really nice sounding unique things and always makes the music sound and feel great

I'm just never a fan of down talking your peers.... especially those who play in the same circles as you

I would be able to pick Aris playing out before Jims every time

and if he did not play those cymbals that sound like garbage can lids I may never be able to pick him out

I love the sound of those cymbals by the way .....but it is the only thing that makes me wonder if it is him when I hear it.....not his playing

but hey any press is good press as they say

I don't care what they say about me just spell my name right........right?

brittc89 06-22-2013 07:37 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony Amodeo (Post 1153907)

in all honesty .....Ari IS everything Jim WANTS to be

Are you KIDDING ME?!?!?! Jim Black has been in this game way longer than Ari Hoenig has, to just set a quick precedent. Secondly, it very much seems to me like you have never even heard either of these people play. Unless you're picking up on some strange undercurrent, there is really not much of a similarity between these two musicians (especially one significant enough to claim that one IS everything the other WANTS to be. That is one of the most laughable quotes I have ever heard on here. Explain yourself!

Anthony Amodeo 06-22-2013 08:18 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by brittc89 (Post 1153970)
Are you KIDDING ME?!?!?! Jim Black has been in this game way longer than Ari Hoenig has, to just set a quick precedent. Secondly, it very much seems to me like you have never even heard either of these people play. Unless you're picking up on some strange undercurrent, there is really not much of a similarity between these two musicians (especially one significant enough to claim that one IS everything the other WANTS to be. That is one of the most laughable quotes I have ever heard on here. Explain yourself!


yeah that statement was a bit overboard

sometimes my emotions get the best of me

still think what Jim said was arrogant and ignorant

I suspect he knew exactly who he was hearing and due to the fact that Ari seems to get more respect and recognition locally where they both reside he felt the need to throw a dig out in print......thats where the WANTS to be statement came from ....nothing to with with their playing being similar

they are very aware of each other and each others playing

....yes I have heard both of them play....for many years.....and have been around both of them many many times

all NYC musicians rub elbows at one point or another

Anthony Amodeo 06-22-2013 09:06 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
this also shouldn't turn in to a Jim vs. Ari thing because neither of them would give a toss about any of this

my whole point is....I believe there should be a respect shown among peers .....even if it was a "blind listen"......which I don't buy that he didn't know who it was

I try to keep the respect shown high amongst my peers

bitterness oozes out of our pores when it is there ....even if we don't intend it to

Griener 06-22-2013 10:30 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony Amodeo (Post 1153996)
bitterness oozes out of our pores when it is there ....even if we don't intend it to

For me the only one sounding bitter is you....
I simply don't see Jim putting down Ari.
He just says Ari's a great player whose taste he doesn't get.
Fair enough.
But what you said about Jim is highly unfair and puts you someplace Else.
What's your real problem?
Just read what he said and don't assume to know what he might have thought while saying it..

Anthony Amodeo 06-22-2013 10:40 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Griener (Post 1154023)
For me the only one sounding bitter is you....
I simply don't see Jim putting down Ari.
He just says Ari's a great player whose taste he doesn't get.
Fair enough.
But what you said about Jim is highly unfair and puts you someplace Else.
What's your real problem?
Just read what he said and don't assume to know what he might have thought while saying it..

Jim is that you ?

I'll see you when you get back from overseas

enjoy your summer over there

Griener 06-22-2013 11:36 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anthony Amodeo (Post 1154030)
Jim is that you ?

I'll see you when you get back from overseas

enjoy your summer over there

Haha, nice try!
No, I'm not Jim; I haven't even talked to him in twenty years.
Just check my website: www.michaelgriener.de
Can I hear your music somewhere?
And please don't be so uptight; there's no need for that....

toddbishop 06-23-2013 01:06 AM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Thanks you guys, glad that was near the mark. I don't see the negativity in Black's remarks that some of you do. Whatever criticisms he makes are heavily qualified, he praises the players' talent more than once, and makes it clear that he is only speaking to his own taste. He's addressing real, and difficult, things, and I'm glad to hear him speak about themó I think his words were well chosen.

Quote:

Originally Posted by gretsch-o-rama (Post 1153884)
Im sorry but this quote coming from Jim Black (whom I have heard) to negatively critique Hoenig is almost laughable...Hoenig has to be one of the best Jazz drummers in the world today...Jim Black is most certainly not. So, I think care needs to be taken when looking up at people because it's easy to come off as coming from a jealous/insecure place. It reminds me of "those who can play it will, those who can't, teach" even though that's not entirely applicable here...

All I can say is that Black has been absolutely killing it since I saw him a couple of times with Tim Berne back in, I don't know, 1990? 91?, and I last saw him play a few months ago and he's still absolutely killing. He's not as big a name in drummer-land as some people, but he's as good as anybody.

Hey, Michael! How's the weather in Berlin in late November? I've got a few free days at the end of my next thing, and I need to go somewhere...

gretsch-o-rama 06-23-2013 04:33 AM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by toddbishop (Post 1154074)
Thanks you guys, glad that was near the mark. I don't see the negativity in Black's remarks that some of you do. Whatever criticisms he makes are heavily qualified, he praises the players' talent more than once, and makes it clear that he is only speaking to his own taste. He's addressing real, and difficult, things, and I'm glad to hear him speak about themó I think his words were well chosen.



All I can say is that Black has been absolutely killing it since I saw him a couple of times with Tim Berne back in, I don't know, 1990? 91?, and I last saw him play a few months ago and he's still absolutely killing. He's not as big a name in drummer-land as some people, but he's as good as anybody.

Hey, Michael! How's the weather in Berlin in late November? I've got a few free days at the end of my next thing, and I need to go somewhere...


Yeah reading the OP Black quote a second time it is nearly effusive and I do believe he gives credit where it is due...I guess it was that I hold Ari Hoenig in such high regard that the statement was a pill...

And to top it all off, Im not really familiar with Jim Black but of what I do know he's not particularly a drummer that does "anything" for me...

Hoenig on the other hand plays with Kenny Werner whom I could gush over...Really solid music philosophy and thinking... I would say Hoenig and Werner are of the same mindset and Kenny Werner has said that acceptance of self(as a musician) sounds good...Ari Hoenig to me, is the epitome of that...

Maybe Black is too....

LimpyLoo 06-23-2013 04:35 AM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
IMO this is a pot/kettle scenario.

(I dig both players btw)

gretsch-o-rama 06-23-2013 04:39 AM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Griener (Post 1153932)
Their thing is more about control really and I don't necessarily think control is the most important issue in music, at least for my taste.


Have to step up and disagree with that one about as much as I can disagree with anything. What I might say is that control is not necessarily a young man's game, but when you're young is certainly a great time to gain control. Without sounding like Im going off the deep end, What about Tony Williams? Buddy Rich? My point is that if you can get control when you are young, you will have that gift/talent until you are a senior citizen...

Griener 06-23-2013 12:02 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
By control I mean a certain kind of flawless execution which you only will get when you know EXACTLY what you're going to play beforehand.
I'd rather hear somebody go for it and fail and I'm especially interested in what happens after the "failing" part.
Young Tony did it a lot, older Tony not quite as much, but still.
I'd rather hear an emotional involvement than a presentation of things practiced.
Of course you need a highly developed control for that as well, but you shouldn't shy away from things you can't control to the Nth degree.

Hey, Todd
Berlin in November is most likely kind of cold, around 46 Degree Fahrenheit. But Berlin is definitely worth a trip.
I will be out of town after the 23rd for a little tour with Tony Malaby in Switzerland (You can't make any money in Berlin playing gigs), but I could set you up to meet some of my favorite Berlin musicians when you're planning to come.
I'll send you an email.

Numberless 06-23-2013 08:40 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8BlLduBRaM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB44i1aJbIU

I do not really get this supposed obsession with complexity and control on these performances...but I guess it's all a matter of taste. I dig both players and enjoy listening to them all the time.

toddbishop 06-25-2013 05:15 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Griener (Post 1154185)
By control I mean a certain kind of flawless execution which you only will get when you know EXACTLY what you're going to play beforehand.
I'd rather hear somebody go for it and fail and I'm especially interested in what happens after the "failing" part.
Young Tony did it a lot, older Tony not quite as much, but still.
I'd rather hear an emotional involvement than a presentation of things practiced.
Of course you need a highly developed control for that as well, but you shouldn't shy away from things you can't control to the Nth degree.

For me, the place for that kind of infallibility is in commercial work; I don't think it makes the best art. I need there to be some kind of edge; I can't get interested if I feel like I'm just hearing somebody amazing run down a technology he's perfected.

Quote:

Hey, Todd
Berlin in November is most likely kind of cold, around 46 Degree Fahrenheit. But Berlin is definitely worth a trip.
I will be out of town after the 23rd for a little tour with Tony Malaby in Switzerland (You can't make any money in Berlin playing gigs), but I could set you up to meet some of my favorite Berlin musicians when you're planning to come.
I'll send you an email.
A little nicer than Portland, in other words-- thanks, man, that would be great! Let's be in touch. And nice gig there with Malaby-- that'll be fun.

Jim Black 03-23-2014 08:36 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
The magic of a Google search. I'm not online much because the whole world is barely wired up when traveling, but I do like a good read. This actually is Jim Black, hello :) I know this thread hasn't been touched for a year but I thought I just give a shout out to say thanks for even discussing my existence as well as this discussion - and if there are any questions for me about anything I did or said or whatever, please fire away....it's all good. Thanks! -j
www.jimblack.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-Black/65434228136
https://www.facebook.com/alasnoaxis

T.L. 03-23-2014 11:58 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Welcome to the forum, Jim!

adamishere 04-28-2014 02:48 PM

Re: Jim Black on Ari Hoenig
 
Hey Jim, welcome aboard!

































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