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Amina Figarova: Persistence

Edward Blanco By

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Amina Figarova: Persistence
Veteran jazz pianist Amina Figarova embarks on a bold new step with her genre-bending Persistence, creating a new sound for the pianist with music that produces an electric-influenced groove mixing funk-jazz, jazz fusion, hip-hop, classical and R&B rhythms found on this new exploratory album. After two decades leading an acoustic sextet, her new quintet ensemble, Edition 113 (named after the block where she and her and husband, flautist Bart Platteau make their home) was assembled specifically to perform the eclectic new music experienced here.

The Azerbaijan-born, New York-based pianist reflects on her life and where she has come from since her classical training and her development as a jazz musician, all through those times she persisted until reaching her goal. This attitude drove her ambition and helped establish a musical presence in the jazz world. Yet the desire to move towards the electronic sound remained unfulfilled until now, where the title is the realization of a long-held desire achieved through "persistence."

Supplementing the leader on piano and an array of keyboards is a core quintet consisting of renowned guitarist Rez Abbasi, Bart Platteau on the flute, bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drumming sensation Rudy Royston. Also featured here are rapper JSWISS, singer Paul Jost and poet/singer Skye's World, on the hip-hop and jazz funk compositions.

The album comprises seven Figarova originals, beginning with the fusion-like title track featuring the leader on keyboards accompanied nicely by Abbasi's guitar riffs on an aggressive up-beat grabber. The hip-hop sound comes through on the hustling "I've Got No Time," where rapper JSWISS appears with some word rap bolstered by Platteau's dicey flute voice.

The flautist lays down the foundation on the light and delicate "Lil' Poem," a beautiful ballad-like composition that seems almost a departure from the electric-influenced theme of the set, a highlight of the album as is the following "Morning Blue," with the leader on keyboards and the guitarist on lead completing a twin spin of two showcase numbers.

Long-time instrumentalist turned singer in 2014, New Jersey-based Paul Jost, graces the album on the atmospheric "Horizons," primarily scatting. The song sounds a bit like it came out of the Pat Metheny song book, another featured highlight here.

To close the session, the finale tune "Bliss," offers the vocal stage to poet/singer Skye's World as he voices some words and provides a little scatting in the background of the song, capping off a new chapter in pianist Amina Figarova's long and distinguished career. Persistence is not only a new sound for Figarova, it's also the recording debut of her electric ensemble, launching a new direction for this dynamic artist.

Track Listing

Persistence; I've Got No Time; Lil' Poem; Morning Blue; R Song; Horizons; Bliss.

Personnel

Amina Figarova: piano; Rez Abbasi: guitar, acoustic; Bart Platteau: flute; Yasushi Nakamura: bass; Rudy Royston: drums; Paul Jost: voice / vocals; JSWISS: voice / vocals; Skye's World: voice / vocals.

Album information

Title: Persistence | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced

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