Written by Jim Eigo:
Internationally renowned Jazz Pianist/Composer Amina
Figarova’s extraordinary response to 9/11: “September Suite”
TO HAVE ITS US PREMIERE IN NYC ON 9/11/11
Sunday, September 11: The Metropolitan Room, 34 W 22nd Street, New York, NY
Show at 7 p.m. Tickets $20. Call 212-206-0440 or log on to www.metropolitanroom.com
Amina Figarova – piano
Marc Mommaas – tenor sax
Ernie Hammes – trumpet
Bart Platteau – flutes
Roland Guerin – bass
Chris “Buckshot” Strik – drums
"There have been many jazz responses to the events of 9/11, but none more
revelatory in their authenticity and realization than September Suite...." —
Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes, January 2006
“September Suite is Amina Figarova's most striking and fully realized music yet.
The compositions and performances alike are full of poignant feeling, with her piano
and Bart Platteau's flute setting a tone that the other band members respond to,
and support. The melodies linger, and the lyricism is very evocative.”
— Jazz Journalists Association President and journalist Howard Mandel
Pianist/composer Amina Figarova will perform the US premiere of September
Suite, her response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, at the Metropolitan Room
in NYC on Sunday, September 11, 2011. Show at 7 p.m. Tickets $20. Call
212-206-0440 or log on to www.metropolitanroom.com
Figarova will also perform the piece on Saturday, September 10 at The Puffin Foundation
in Teaneck, NJ, as part of a 7-city US tour.
September Suite is not just a homage to the victims and those they left behind
after the September 11th, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington DC. First and
foremost it is an Ode to Mourning, a sketch of grief that may occur in any way,
shape or form, anywhere in the world, at any given moment, whether it be caused
by massive manifestations of human aggression, or small, but equally fatal ones,
by natural disasters, accidents, famine, disease or unfortunate twists of fate.
It is also a sensory analysis of the stages of grief everyone faces when dealing
with a great human loss: death rendering one speechless, bringing emptiness, making
one deny the end, showing pictures of life, leading to powerless rage and commanding
acceptance until finally only grief, silence and longing remain.
Figarova was fast asleep at the apartment of Brooklyn friends when just a few miles
away two airplanes flew into the World Trade Center. Once back in Rotterdam, Amina
Figarova tried to avoid watching TV footage of the terrorist attacks. Then one day
a BBC documentary caught her attention and stayed with her. It was the touching
story of a British woman who took her daughter to see the place on Staten Island
where their husband and father, who worked at the WTC, lost his life. His remains
were never found. The woman accepted her fate, but the daughter was in denial about
her father's death, still convinced he would come back. They are interviewed on
a boat sailing past Staten Island, against the backdrop of Lady Liberty and the
ominous column of smoke still rising from Ground Zero like the spirit of pure evil.
For Amina Figarova, these television images compelled her into action. She got behind
the piano to allow the keys to make sense of her feelings. In no time at all the
opening composition of The September Suite, entitled Numb took shape. "My left hand
automatically started to describe the cloud over Ground Zero in dark tones," Figarova
says, ”as a metaphor for the ugly truth, the evil side of man. At the same time
the right hand started painting the mother's grief and the daughter's hope. A ray
of sun tries to break through the sad darkness of the song. Here and there it succeeds
by way of the flute and the piano. But the threat of evil represented by the trumpet
and the saxophone is always present."
Figarova released a CD of September Suite in 2005 CD to rave reviews, and has also
performed the work in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. These will be their
first US performances.
".... The world was changed by the horrific events that took place on September
11th. We were all affected. There's no going back. In composing and interpreting
a suite to mark that episode in our lives, pianist Amina Figarova has captured the
feelings that we all share. Impressionism remains a vital part of modern jazz, and
Figarova has found a way of communicating with her audience intuitively. Modern
jazz comes to the rescue as Figarova puts everything in order and summarizes through
her stellar ensemble. September Suite shouldn't be missed...." — Jim Santella,
All About Jazz.
“…A disc I got early in the year that just stayed with me. Forget World Trade Center
and United 93; a native of Azerbaijan had the best take on 9/11 and its aftermatch.
With a playing and composing style of Herbie Hancock…” — Top 5 CDs of AlbanyJazz.com
2006 by J Hunter
"... As strong as Come Escape With Me is, September Suite may be even more powerful.
Taken collectively, the two recordings provide a comprehensive view of Figarova,
whose true strengths as a player and composer are only beginning to be emerge...."
— John Kelman, All About Jazz.
"... September Suite has a layered, lush sound that seems as if it could be a vehicle
for a symphony orchestra; but composed and arranged by Figarova for her sextet,
it's music that couldn't be improved upon. Magnificent! A top ten disc for sure...."
— Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz.
Amina Figarova is one of the most productive jazz composers and accomplished
jazz piano players from Europe with more than a dozen recordings to her credit..
Now living in New York City, born in Baku, Azerbaijan, Figarova started playing
piano and composing at a very early age. She studied as a classical concert pianist
at the Baku Conservatory, and jazz performance at the Rotterdam Conservatory and
the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The Amina Figarova Sextet has performed
at the main jazz clubs and jazz festivals in the USA such as the main stage of the
Newport Jazz Festival and the Chicago Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz Festival,
Portland Jazz Festival, Tri-C Jazz Festival Cleveland, Rochester Jazz Festival,
Winter Jazz Festival in New York, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Minneapolis, Gene Harris
Jazz Festival, Boise, ID, and many others. She has also performed at the major jazz
clubs such as the Jazz Standard in New York, Yoshi’s in Oakland CA, Jazz at Lincoln
Center in New York, Blues Alley in Washington DC, Jazz Alley in Seattle, The Jazz
Showcase in Chicago, Nighttown in Cleveland, the Blue Note in New York, and many
more. She has also played at major Jazz Festivals in Europe, Middle East, South-Afrika,
Asia and Central and South America.
Amina Figarova - www.aminafigarova.com
Bart Platteau - www.bartplatteau.com
USA tel.: +1.917.992 5378
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