(Check out ANY of the 4 video clips)
I first saw Ari with Kenny Warner about 2 years ago at our college. He came into the gig with just his cymbals and asked to see what kind of sets the college had for use, etc. He ended up playin on I belive a tama 16inch floor as a kick, a snare, two rides and hats. It was probably the most life changing drumming experience I'd has since I first saw Buddy Rich. Ari Hoenig isn't a chops god, though he has his share, it's his absolute MUSICALITY that drove me insane. I watch an entire orchestra/big band standing off to the sides of the stage in literal silent awe of what they were seeing him play. HIs phrasing and the sheer amount of different and most importantly, MUSICAL tones he was able to draw from that minimalist kit was amazing. I was in literal shock for a while after. He completely changed my idea of a drummer can and SHOULD be able to do with his kit, and he was an amazing example of how chops are mere tools to express musicality and shouldn't be the forefront of anyone's playing.
If he reads these forums, I'd like to thank him for completely changing my idea of how to musical on the kit. ...OH, and I wish you would have had the chance to play MY set, I have a yamaha maple custom, which I've seen your perfom with. No offence to the Tama's. ;-)