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Amina Figarova: Road To The Sun

Read "Road To The Sun" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Amina Figarova, born in Baku, Azerbaijin, experienced one of the United States' darkest days--the 9/11/2001 terrorist attack--up close, from the vantage point of a friend's apartment in Brooklyn. The experience resulted in the creation of perhaps the most poignant and heartfelt artistic representations of the event, Figarova's sextet recording September Suite (Munich Records, 2005), an “Ode To Mourning" of sorts for America. Figarova has stayed busy since then, releasing Above The Clouds (Munich Music, 2008), Twelve (In ...

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Amina Figarova: Blue Whisper

Read "Blue Whisper" reviewed by Dave Wayne

Pianist and composer Amina Figarova is truly a citizen of the world. Born and raised in Baku, Azerbaijan, she decamped to the Netherlands in the 1980s to study at the Rotterdam Conservatory, and then to Boston in 1989 to continue her studies at Berklee. Blue Whisper is her 12th recording as a leader, but her first to feature a band comprised primarily of US-based musicians. Aside from Bart Platteau (also Figarova's husband), the only holdovers from her excellent Netherlands-based band, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Amina Figarova Sextet: Golden, CO, March 6, 2013

Read "Amina Figarova Sextet: Golden, CO, March 6, 2013" reviewed by Geoff Anderson

Amina Figarova SextetMount Vernon Country ClubGolden, COMarch 6, 2013What do “jazz" and “Azerbaijan" have in common? Both have a “z" in their names. And jazz pianist Amina Figarova is from Azerbaijan. That's probably about it. Azerbaijan produces about as many international jazz stars as Cuba produces downhill ski champions. But there are exceptions to every rule. To be fair, Azerbaijan does have a jazz scene, it's just that not many Azerbaijanis break out to the ...

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Amina Figarova: Twelve

Read "Twelve" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Calling Amina Figarova merely a jazz impressionist does injustice to the full breadth of the pianist's vision and does not reflect the uniqueness of her artistry. That said, most of her compositions do have an impressionistic bent. The nocturnal “Shut Eyes, Sea Waves...," for instance, on Twelve (her twelfth release as a leader), uses her cascading piano and Dutch drummer Chris Strik's gentle cymbals to paint a picture of waves crashing against the shore. The salty air is almost palpable ...

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Amina Figarova: Twelve

Read "Twelve" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Change is in the air that pianist/composer Amina Figarova is breathing. While the personnel from her previous outing is still intact, and her personal aesthetic remains largely unaltered, she comes to this album with a different worldview and a new place to call home. The Azerbaijan-born Figarova and husband/band mate/flautist Bart Platteau had been based in Rotterdam for quite some time, but decided to move stateside in 2010. This change of scenery served as the inspiration for the twelve-song suite ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Amina Figarova in Concert, La Jolla, CA, Feb. 26, 2009

Read "Amina Figarova in Concert, La Jolla, CA, Feb. 26, 2009" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Amina Figarova Sextet Athenaeum Music and Arts Museum La Jolla, California February 26, 2009If you can believe pianist/composer Amina Figarova--speaking to the audience after her opening tunes at the February 26, 2009 show at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Museum in La Jolla (San Diego), California--she is “...just the person who writes the notes." She credits her band with realizing her musical vision. True to an extent, but her self-effacement is reminiscent of ...

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Amina Figarova: Above the Clouds

Read "Above the Clouds" reviewed by J Hunter

On September Suite (Munich, 2005), Amina Figarova's inspiration was one of the biggest events this generation may ever know--the September 11th attacks, and their psychological aftermath. While Above the Clouds's subject matter is both smaller and lighter, Figarova again chooses a large medium and a multi-colored palate to illustrate her vision. And this is all to the good because, in many ways, Clouds is the antithesis of September.

Much of Clouds's emotional foundation comes from the words of Figarova's mother: ...

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Amina Figarova: Above the Clouds

Read "Above the Clouds" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Amina Figarova--an Azerbaijan-born and now Rotterdam-based artist--boasts a graceful and erudite piano style, but her second instrument is her band. She composes and arranges adeptly for her “three horn front line and a rhythm section" ensemble on Above the Clouds, using the same instrumental make-up that she employed in her marvelous September Suite (Munich Records, 2005), the artist's response to the tragedy of 9/11, and Come Escape With Me (Munich Records, 2005).Above the Clouds continues with the post-bop ...

INTERVIEWS

Amina Figarova: Cross-Continental Jazz

Read "Amina Figarova: Cross-Continental Jazz" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Born in Azerbaijan, but located now in the Netherlands, and in demand at festivals and clubs around the globe, pianist Amina Figarova is a case study in the internationalization of jazz. A prodigious talent from early childhood, Figarova was drawn to jazz as a young player, even as she established herself as a formidable professional classical performer.While studying composition by invitation in Rotterdam, she switched to a jazz course, and within a year was at the Berklee School ...

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Amina Figarova: September Suite

Read "September Suite" reviewed by John Kelman

An unfortunate byproduct of today's music industry is that artists are often restricted in how frequently they can release new albums. Sometimes it's a matter of logistics--ECM, despite its prominence, operates with a surprisingly small staff. The direct involvement of label owner Manfred Eicher on virtually every record inherently limits the number of releases each year. Typically, however, it's the result of marketing folks who don't want to place artists in competition with themselves.

In the 1960s multiple releases by ...

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Amina Figarova: September Suite

Read "September Suite" reviewed by Jim Santella

The world was changed by the horrific events that took place on September 11th. We were all affected. There's no going back.

In composing and interpreting a suite to mark that episode in our lives, pianist Amina Figarova has captured the feelings that we all share. Impressionism remains a vital part of modern jazz, and Figarova has found a way of communicating with her audience intuitively.

Sometimes there's a quality in art that escapes us. We ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Amina Figarova: September Suite

Read "September Suite" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Taking life-affirming inpiration from one of America's darkest days, pianist/composer/arranger Amina Figarova has crafted one of the finest jazz sets of the year with September Suite. Composed in memory of the victims of 9/11--and as a homage to those suffering grief in any situation--the work delves deeply into the emotions that evolve in times of great loss.On a very good jazz set from earlier this year, Come Escape With Me, Figarova proved herself an outstanding writer/arranger for jazz ...


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