Drummer’s compositions are often full of energy, but Ari Hoenig is probably one of the most wildest fighters in jazz drumming. As powerful as a performer, he is as skilled as a composer in producing compositions with harmonic and melodic depth.
Pianist, composer and arranger Ben Markley, who we know with his 2017 album “Clockwise: The Music of Cedar Walton”, invites you to a true journey with brand new arrangements in Hoenig’s musical treasure. In the album Ben Markley Big Band with Ari Hoenig – Ari’s Funhouse released via OA2 Records, the way the arranger approaches compositions is far beyond a conventional big band arrangement. We hear that the musical portrait of the drummer is being tried to be adapted to the structure of the large orchestration in the most correct way.
Hoenig and Markley played together for the first time for a small band at a festival in Texas in Fall 2019. Right after that meeting, Markley called Hoenig and said he wanted to arranging his tunes to big orchestral music. With these arrangements, they had a successful performance at Dazzle Jazz Denver in October 2019. After the pandemic interruption, they went to the studio in July 2021 and recorded this exquisite album. While creating the project, the first goal was to honor the music while opening up spaces where Ari could express himself correctly. Markley’s detail in the arrangements and quality compositions are in a form that will fill the ears from the very first tune. The arrangements retain Hoenig’s rhythmic language while also adding colors from his unique sound palette. When first-class jazz craftsmanship came together with first-class arrangements, with the contributions of musicians from the rich atmosphere of the Denver jazz scene, an A-Team Job was created. Especially when you listen to the original version of Arrows and Loops, the remarkable piece of the 2011 album Lines of Oppression, you will hear that the boundaries of the music expand and become more magnificent while the main heart of the melody is in place.
Jazz world or, more generally, music performers can often experience new project sterility. Dull repetitive and old-fashioned projects are presented to us. But this guys are not like that i have mentioned before. Peter Olstad, Greg Gisbert, Dan Jonas, and Alan Hood on trumpets, Adam Bartczak, Paul McKee, Rob Borger, and Jon Gauer on trombones, Will Swindler and Scott Turpen on altos, and Peter Sommer and John Gunther on tenor saxophones, Sam Williams on baritone and 4-player rhythm In section Ben Markley Big Band, consisting of Steve Kovalcheck, Evan Gregor, Ben Markley and Ari Hoenin, stands out as an ensemble that skillfully pulls out from under entertaining arrangements. As a promising project community, it seems that we will encounter this group more often in the coming days.