As a drummer, Ari Hoenig’s success has been unprecedented. Growing up in Philadelphia, his parent’s influence exposed Ari to a variety of alternative musical experiences. His father is a conductor and classical singer, his mother a violinist and pianist. Accordingly, at six years of age, Ari began studying the violin and piano. He began playing drums at age twelve and by age fourteen, he was honing his skills with other young jazz musicians at Philly clubs such as Ortlieb’s Jazz Haus.
Ari attended the prestigious University of North Texas for three years, where he studied with Ed Soph while playing with the “One O’Clock” Lab Band. Wanting to be closer to New York City, in 1995 Ari transferred to William Patterson College in northern New Jersey. He soon found himself playing for legendary Philadelphia organist Shirley Scott and working regularly in New York City.
Shortly thereafter, Ari moved into Brooklyn, and since, has found himself playing extensively with variety of groups, including Jean-Michel Pilc Trio, Kenny Werner Trio, Chris Potter Underground, Kurt Rosenwinkel Group, Joshua Redman Elastic band, Jazz Mandolin Project and bands led by Wayne Krantz, Mike Stern, Richard Bona, Pat Martino, Dave Leibman, and Bojan Z. He has also shared the stage with such artists as Herbie Hancock, Ivan Linz, Wynton Marsalis, Toots Theilmans, Dave Holland, Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, and Gerry Mulligan.
The Ari Hoenig Quartet was formed at the end of 2002 while playing steadily every Monday night at the New York Village jazz club Fat Cat. The band featured Jacques Schwarz-Bart, on tenor sax, Jean-Michel Pilc on piano and Matt Penman on bass. They released two records on the Smalls Records label: “The Painter” (2004) and the DVD “Kinetic Hues” (2005)
In 2006 Ari signed a multi record deal with Dreyfus Records and released his first record for them, “Inversations.” Inversations features Jean-Michel Pilc and Johannes Weidenmueller. The fall of 2006 kicked off a long CD release tour, taking the group through Spain, Italy, and Finland, as well as various cities in the U.S.
Currently Ari leads two bands which both play his original music. Ari’s Quartet, a.k.a. “Punk Bop,” features Will Vinson on alto, Jonathan Kreisberg or Gilad Hekselman on guitar, and Matt Penman on bass. Ari looks forward to his next Dreyfus release on which “Punk Bop” will be joined by Chris Potter on tenor. Ari’s other group is a trio that he co-leads with longtime partner pianist Jean-Michel Pilc. After playing in each other’s trios for some time, Ari and Jean Michel formed the Hoenig Pilc Project in 2006 to meld their two trios into a single, uniquely bold musical statement. Ari plays often with these two groups at his regular Monday night gig at Smalls in the Village. He also uses this gig to present other side projects and experiments he is working on at the time.