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.

Title: September Suite | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Munich Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read The Romeo and Juliet Project CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Crystal Machine CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Machine
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Rise Of Orion" CD/LP/Track Review Rise Of Orion
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "That Feelin'" CD/LP/Track Review That Feelin'
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Soulmation" CD/LP/Track Review Soulmation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Up Go We" CD/LP/Track Review Up Go We
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Salt Task" CD/LP/Track Review Salt Task
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 15, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.