Distant Drums

Ahead of his Whale return, we talk to jazz drummer supreme Ari Hoenig.

Hailed as just about the finest jazz drummer out there, for two decades now, Philly kid Ari Hoenig has been ripping a hole through the fabric of the music world, bringing a musicality to his instrument that has thrilled audiences and somewhat defied logic.

The man treats the drums as though they had the musical range of a piano.

Having wowed audiences in Greystones last year, Hoenig is back at The Whale on Friday, November 4th. And he’s brought two highly-acclaimed musicians along with him – guitarist Tom Ollendorf (himself a recent Whale headliner) and top-of-the-range pianist Nitai Hershkovits. Who probably treats the piano like a drum kit.

Ahead of the big night, we asked Ari, hey, where did all this music come from…?

I grew up in Philadelphia. My parents were both classical musicians and I spent my early years listening to Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Chopin as well as American folk music.

From a very young age I enjoyed sitting at the piano and composing or improvising. Until the age of 12, I had played and studied violin and piano. Drums were different from the formal classical training I had before and they allowed me to play rock and jazz, or any music that I heard on the radio.

By age 12, my parents still wanted me to play an instrument and if drums were considered an instrument, I was all in.


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