Amina Figarova

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Twelve Review

by Ken Dryden

Amina Figarova's love of New York City has led to a second CD that reveals her impressions of the diverse metropolis. A native of Azerbaijan, the pianist's appearances at various venues in the city gave her the incentive to move to Forest Hills in Queens in 2010 with her husband, flutist Bart Platteau, as well as to compose. Each of the dozen originals performed on Twelve has a distinct vibe. "NYCST" is a peppy post-bop vehicle that captures the hurried tempo of the city during the week, followed by the laid-back "Another Side of the Ocean," which showcases Ernie Hammes' expressive fl├╝gelhorn and even adds an amusing lick from "My Favorite Things." The pianist's elegant "Shut Eyes, Sea Waves..." is an impressionist work with subtle shifts that add to its dreamy mood. The pulsating "Make It Happen" showcases Marc Mommaas on soprano and Hammes on trumpet, though Figarova's darting piano solo steals the show. "Twelve" is a lush Latin-flavored lullaby with a breezy air that has gorgeous ensemble work, accented by Platteau's playful flute. "Morning Pace" initially has a Far Eastern flavor, though as the band joins Figarova it transforms into a delicate ballad, featuring Jeroen Vierdag's intricate bass. Drummer Chris "Buckshot" Strik's adept percussion throughout the session is also a key factor. With this rewarding date, Amina Figarova makes her case as an important composer of her generation.

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