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Amina Figarova: Come Escape with Me

Jim Santella By

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The modern mainstream fits Amina Figarova like a glove. Her compositions carry with them an exotic feeling of anticipation along with their mesmerizing groove. At the piano, she's in control, improvising over lovely melodies and creating a storm of subdued passion.

Her septet has been together for five years. Figarova's husband, Bart Platteau, holds down the flute chair for this band that has two previous CD releases. Their work plays out cohesively, and they interpret each piece with outstanding musical attention to detail. Everything falls into place with spot-on results.

"Mr. T.M." may be a dedication to Thelonious Monk. The piece moves in a Monk-like manner, tossing and turning its melody with constant surprises, while its rhythmic groove penetrates thoroughly. Trumpeter Marcel Keys and Figarova step out with searing solo work that heightens the performance considerably. The leader's powerful phrases and seamless phrasing contribute considerable fire, along with the session's pure musical qualities.

"Buckshot Blues" may be a dedication to Buckshot LeFonque. The piece features alto saxophonist Tom Beek in what may be a salute to Cannonball Adderley as well as an homage to New Orleans-born and bred saxophonist Branford Marsalis. The piece's dynamic New Orleans shuffle loosens up the reins for a while and leaves plenty of room for the septet to ramble.

"Blues for Wiro" features bassist Wiro Mahieu in a dramatic affair that rages up-tempo in a fiery display of jazz's helter-skelter spontaneity. His virtuosic bass showcase lends a hearty post bop texture to the session.

Figarova's ballad, "Destiny," puts her in the spotlight to explore dreamy keyboard sequences with the trio. Bassist Mahieu and drummer Chris Strik surround the pianist's broad piano strokes with soothing textures suitable for a heartfelt ballad. Recommended, Come Escape with Me explores jazz's modern mainstream with a driving rhythmic groove, impeccably tight septet arrangements, and refreshing piano keyboard magic.

Track Listing: Come Escape With Me, Hot on the Trail, Flight of Fancy, Mr. T.M., Dancing in the Wind, Buckshot Blues, Zeolot, Awakening, Blues for Wiro, Destiny, Market Place, Reaching Out to You

Personnel: Amina Figarova--piano; Bart Platteau--flutes; Marcel Reys--trumpet/flugelhorn; Tom Beek--alto and soprano saxophones; Kurt van Herck--tenor saxophon; Wiro Mahieu--bass; Chris Strik--drums

Title: Come Escape with Me | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Munich Records

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