Night Train

Amina Figarova

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Night Train Review

by Dave Nathan

The train trip described by pianist Amina Figarova might be deemed an allegorical reference to one's journey through life and the myriad events, large and small, that readily come to mind at the end of the trip. This album is Azerbaijan native and Rotterdam resident Figarova's fourth album and, with the exception of some help with lyrics, is made up of her compositions. Each tune is one of several movements that make up the story of the train ride, with each event the track represents eloquently described in detail by Figarova in the liner notes. There are unplanned meetings with all sorts of fellow travelers, along with four musical interludes which represent stops the train makes throughout the journey, essentially to allow the protagonist of the story to catch her breath and smell the roses. All of these goings on are expressed by individual pianistic ventures by Figarova as well as some fine ensemble playing. There are also notable solos by Jarmo Hoogendijk and Carolyn Breuer on such tracks as "Rio Sueno (River of Dreams)," a lovely, flowing piece, as the name implies. Vocalist Denise Jannah is present on two tracks. She is appropriately poignant on "Sari (Sadness)," which deals with a young woman distraught over losing track of her lover. Here Hoogendijk's flugelhorn plays in sympathetic juxtaposition to Jannah's vocal. Not all the pieces are in slow motion. "Open to the World" has an upbeat, optimistic ring to it as it showcases Breuer's hard bop alto and good ensemble work. All in all, the music created by Figarova and friends is enchanting, if not all that substantial. But not everything needs to be a tour de force or a breakthrough to be enjoyed. Recommended.

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