A native of Azerbaijan, where she studied in a classical conservatory, pianist Amina Figarova became infatuated with jazz in her early 20s and subsequently studied in the Netherlands and the U.S. Now based in Rotterdam, Figarova not only is an exceptional pianist whose lithe, often flowing style hints at her classical origins, she is frequently lauded as one of the premier jazz composers and arrangers to emerge in the new millennium. Her post-bop compositions are invariably elegant, even sleek, splashing complex colors about but with the precise, exquisite touch of a miniaturist. Still, there's nary a hint of preciousness, and her superb band, from the understated horns to her own piano to the effervescent flutes of Bart Platteau (Figarova's husband), plays it all with sparkling élan. Among the outstanding tracks on her latest album, Above the Clouds (Munich), are the lyrical, shining "Summer Rain"; the scintillating, hard-charging, boppish "'A' Dance"; and the bold, bristling "Sailing Through the Icy Waters" (the last inspired by mariner Henry Hudson). On this tour, which includes only five U.S. dates, Figarova will lead her sextet, composed of Platteau, trumpeter Ernie Hammes, bassist Jeroen Vierdag, drummer Chris "Buckshot" Strik, and Marc Mommaas on tenor sax. (photo by Ximena Davalos)
Thu., Sept. 3, 7 p.m., 2009
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