Friday, August 3, 2012

Amina Figarova, Twelve

Composer-pianist-bandleader Amina Figarova sure is productive. The latest album, Twelve (In + Out 77114-2), is the latest in a series and I am afraid I have lost count, but there are a fair number of them. Is it twelve? I do not know.

This album celebrates the move to New York City (Queens) that she, her partner flautist Bart Platteau and the band recently made.

It's a suite of interconnected compositions for the sextet, which has Bart as an important tonal element and major soloist, along with trumpeter Ernie Hammes and tenor-soprano artist Marc Mommaas as the rest of the front line sound-color block and soloists.

The rhythmn section of Jergen Vierdag, bass, and Chris Strik, drums, plays a crucial supportive role thoughout.

The emphasis in Amina's ensemble is on her powerful compositions, masterfully arranged for the ensemble, and bright soloing from the horns and Amina. Her work, partially because of the ensemble's instrumentation and partly due to her predisposition, shows the foundational influence of Herbie Hancock's middle period, the period of some masterpiece recordings like the Prisoner and Speak Like A Child.

Now mind you Ms. Figarova has taken that basic sound and gone more and more into her own personal world with it. She is a composer of great finesse and subtlety but can swing the charts too.

This new album shows her and the ensemble continuing on their journey, the music evolving, the group growing ever more close-knit. She and her band are of a piece, now instantly recognizable.

It's more music of wonder and perhaps some elation. Nice!

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