South Florida JAZZ will feature one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan and talented artists, pianist Amina Figarova, with her sextet. If you haven’t heard of Amina, you’re just not keeping up with the European modern jazz scene! It is with some discomfiture that we acknowledge that jazz is stronger and healthier in Europe than in America. Here is your chance to discover a treasure and see her in her second South Florida JAZZ performance.
Amina Figarova was born in Baku, Azerbaijan – a former Soviet republic. An obvious prodigy, she began to play piano at the age of two and to compose at three. At six, she was admitted to the Special Secondary School for Most-Gifted Children, where she studied classical piano and composition. A graduate of the State Conservatory of Baku, she went on to teach there, gave many concerts and entered various competitions in the USSR, winning first prize at a competition for USSR composers. In 1990 she was invited to the Netherlands to give a classical recital and was featured on Moscow Radio International. On the strength of a tape of this program she was invited to study composition, piano, and voice at the Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands. She also studied at Berklee School of Music in Boston in 1992, still a teaching position in Rotterdam while honing her jazz skills.
Amina is married Belgian-born multi-flutist Bart Platteau. Together, they have recorded 11 highly regarded CDs, the most recent, Sketches, follows the acclaimed Above the Clouds (Munich Records). Amina is an indefatigable globetrotter, performing with her band in concert and at major festivals throughout Europe and America, including the 2010 Newport Jazz Festival.
The band’s repertoire consists primarily of Amina’s original compositions that cover the spectrum from urbane bluesiness to the more avant-garde. Her arranging is spectacular with the band's signature sound created by the front line harmony of Platteau’s flutes, fiery trumpeter Ernie Hammes from Luxembourg, and premier Dutch saxophonist Mark Mommaas. But the interplay between Figarova and Dutch bassist Jeroen Vierdag also is noteworthy because of the near-telepathic relationship between them. Also Dutch, drummer Chris “Buckshot” Strik, is a powerful, but tasteful player with incredible energy and jazz feel.
This current tour of the United States has been made possible by the support of the