137

Amina Figarova: September Suite

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Amina Figarova: September Suite 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 sextet, the same ensemble she employs on September Suite—a piano/bass/drums rhythm section with a front line of trumpet, tenor saxophone, and flute. In a review of the former disc, I noted the "silkiness" the flute added to the harmonies. With September Suite I'm struck by the seeming contradiction of a deep, airy density that it brings to the sound, infusing it with a light yet rich classical undertone to the music we call "jazz."

Based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Figarova was in New York when the two airplanes flew into the World Trade Center. Her impressions of the aftermath are here. Her solo piano intro to "Numb" has her left hand describing, in dark and forelorn tones, the black cloud rising over ground zero, as the three horns loom in to paint a foreboding and eerie picture of the scene, until Kurt Van Herck's saxophone pushes itself to the front for a searingly emotive interlude, representing either anguish or a manifestation of the evil behind the event—let the listener be the judge—while Figarova's right hand struggles for hope and brightness.

"Emptyness" [sic] explores inner desolation and Nick Schepers' trumpet solo is tinged with torment, a voice cracking with the weight of despair. "When the Lights Go Down" showcases Figarova's classically informed piano work on a piece that is as sad and beautifully poignant as a piece of music can be, leading into a gentle brightening on "Dawn" with the hopeful breath of Bart Platteau's flute.

September Suite has a layered, lush sound that seems as if it could be a vehicle for a symphony orchestra; but composed and arranged by Figarova for her sextet, it's music that couldn't be improved upon. Magnificent!

A top ten disc for sure.


Track Listing: Numb; Emptyness; Denial; Phot Album; Rage; Trying to Focus; When the Lights Go Down; Dawn; For Laura; Numb (bonus track).

Personnel: Amina Figarova: piano; Bart Platteau: flute; Nico Schepers: trumpet; Kurt Van Herck: tenor saxophone; Wiro Mahieu: bass; Chris Strik: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Munich Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Classic! Live at Newport" CD/LP/Track Review Classic! Live at Newport
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 8, 2016
Read "Zero To 60" CD/LP/Track Review Zero To 60
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2016
Read "Deep" CD/LP/Track Review Deep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Velcro Bird" CD/LP/Track Review Velcro Bird
by John Eyles
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Sélébéyone" CD/LP/Track Review Sélébéyone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!