Monday, October 15, 2012

Amina Figarova's latest album: Twelve

Dutch - Azerbaljani pianist and composer inspired by New York adventure. 
Amina Figarova: Another Side of the Ocean
Hans Koert.

One and a half year ago their sea container – a large iron box like a big-sized suitcase - was ready to be packed by Amina Figarova and Bart Platteau  to cross the ocean ……  A one year US introduction to their music … Recently, twenty months after their moving, their sextet returned for a short tour for a series of concerts, inspired by its New York adventure ………

The impressions of their stay in New York, inspired to record a new album, entitled Twelve: a very suitable name as it is Amina’s twelfth album …….. Eighteen years ago, in 1994, Amina Figarova and Bart Platteau recorded their first album Attraction for Media Music, recorded in Leiden (The Netherlands), 1994.

Amina Figarova - Twelve ( In + Out Records IOR CD 77114-2) (Cover: Eddie (Fonts+Files)(photo courtesy: Zak Shelby-Szyszko) (original cover and photo in colour)

Amina Figarova was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, December 1966, and studied classical music at the Baku Conservatory, before she discovered jazz music, which brought her to Holland (Rotterdam Conservatory) and Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. In Rotterdam she met Bart Platteau, a Belgian flute player.
 Bart Platteau ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

One and a half year ago the Amina Figarova Sextet gave a concert at the Porgy en Bess Jazz Club in Terneuzen ( the Netherlands) to promote its album Sketches,  featuring Amina Figarova at the piano, Bart Platteau on flute, Ernie Hammer on trumpet and flugelhorn, Marc Mommaas on tenor saxophone, Jeroen Vierdag on double bass and Chris “Buckshot” Strik on drums - a winning team as it seems as they also recorded its latest album: Twelve. It is always been difficult to keep the members of a jazz band together, Amina says in the liner notes: It takes strength, stubbornness and sacrifice, some of which is financial. I'm very lucky to have the ensemble ready for whatever I put before them, because they understand my music, they are loyal and they each give what they do 100 percent. 

 Ernie Hammes ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

The album contains twelve (!) tracks, all compositions by Amina Figarova, all recorded early 2012 at the System Two Studios in New York City.
The titles of the composition refer to their trip and stay in the States, like  Another Side of the Ocean, NYCST, Make it Happen, Shut Eyes, Sea Waves and Sneaky Seagulls …… darting around the bench she and Bart share at the beach, awaiting a chance to steal their picnic lunches …..

Other names of the tracks have a more personal relationship, like Isabelle ( Jeroen’s girl friend) or Leila (Amina’s mother) – Amina wrote at her best friend’s request the tune: Maria’s Request, a piano-flute duet by Amina and Bart.

Jeroen Vierdag ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

I liked Shut Eyes, Sea Wave, which has a great arrangement and Sneaky Seagulls,  in which you can hear the screaming and quarreling birds …… On The Go, which opens with some great bass playing by Jeroen Vierdag and Maria’s Request belong to my favorites, but also Twelve, a piece in 12/8th – which opens like a classical piano etude, but develops into a well arranged composition.

Amina Figarova: one of the most important composers to come into jazz in the new millennium (quote: Thomas Conrad – Jazz Times)

 Marc Mommaas ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Last month they could be heard at the Schuttershof theater in Middelburg (The Netherlands).  The concert photos are from the 2011 concert by the Amina Figarova sextet and the 2012 concert by the Marc Mommaas Quartet, (in Dutch) both at the Porgy en Bess Jazzclub. 

Chris Buckshot Strik (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Amina Figarova - Twelve.
Amina Figarova piano - Bart Platteau flute - Ernie Hammes trumpet flugelhorn - Marc Mommaas tenor- soprano saxophones Jeroen Vierdag  double bass - Chris Buckshot Strik  drums.
Recorded New York City,  25th and 26th of Fbruary 2012
In and Out Records IOR CD 77114-2

The album can be ordered at In and Out Records and at the Amina Figarova website.

Hans Koert
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Amina Figarova and her husband Bart Platteau moved one and a half year ago to the other side of the ocean, where they surprised the US jazz audiences with their sextet at numerous concerts ..... Recently Amina Figarova and her band released its twelfth album, entitled: Twelve.

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