The rest of his response is good, too:
(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