2013′s Winter Jazz Festival will be kicking off on 1/11/13. This year Revive Music Group will be presenting two action-packed nights of music at Sullivan Hall filled to the brim with a roster of amazing musicians. We’re bringing you previews of these incredible artists to give you a taste of what is to come in January. We met up with Ari Hoenig to discuss what he’s got in store for Winter Jazz Festival. Check out our preview with The Ari Hoenig Group below featuring Mike League, Wayne Krantz, and Tivon Pennicott!

This is the first time this band play together as a group. It’s a very kind of improvisational type of a thing. All three of the guys in this band have a really unique voice on their respective instruments and they are all great listeners.

Mike League:

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I met Mike originally at Smalls, but we started doing some tours together with Snarkey Puppy and my band as a double bill. I think we did three tours together. On one of those tours we actually played with Mike as well. We did a trio with myself, Adam Rogers, and Mike.

Wayne Krantz:

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I met Wayne closer to when I moved to New York, which was quite a few years ago. I started playing with his group at first and throughout the years I’ve played quite a bit with him. I think Wayne is an extremely special musician. He has a certain something about his groove and his time that I haven’t really heard in anyone else. He has a way of making other people that he plays with sound great. He really has something that I special and unique.

Tivon Pennicott:

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I met Tivon much more recently. He’s been playing with my groups for probably less than a year. He’s really something special. He’s definitely the youngest player in the group. But he’s one of the most interactive saxophonists that I’ve heard and he also really understands the language that I’m going for. We communicate really well.

The Set List:

We’re going to have some things that we know we’re going to play. Some of the material is going to be pretty funny. We’re going to play a Britney Spears tune, some stuff from like ‘80s TV shows, and stuff like that. It’s going to be very improvisational though.

The idea for me is that it doesn’t really matter what song you play. The song itself really has very little impact in the music. It’s what you choose to play and how you choose to play it. Especially in improvisational music, the song doesn’t matter. You could play a good song, a bad song, it doesn’t matter. It’s just where it goes, where you take it, and where your band takes it. That’s the thing that is special.

We haven’t rehearsed this stuff more than once, so it’s going to be really on the spot. We’ll have some kind of idea, but I’ve played with all of these guys separately, so I know what they’re capable of. I’m really looking forward to it.

On His Unique Rhythmic Sense:

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It’s just really a language for me. Just wanting to understand rhythm, wanting to understand the language of rhythm. That’s what compelled me to develop those kinds of things. It was really on my own. To some degree I had to think about if I heard something that I didn’t understand, I had to try and figure out what I was hearing. That’s really where I started, just trying to figure and understand everything that everyone else was playing. I was trying to get into the heads of the musicians I was listening to — Marcus Roberts and Jeff Watts were huge for me. Also Tony Williams to an extent.

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Interview by Eric Sandler (@ericsandler)

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Winter Jazz Festival 2013

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