Amina Figarova September Suite

Azerbaijan-born, Netherlands-based pianist/composer Figarova’s September Suite exemplifies the "it takes one to know one” relationship between artist and theme. The loss, terror and haunting memories of 9/11 — the subject matter of Suite — are all too familiar to the artist whose own strife-torn homeland’s history looms over the elegiac and deeply moving compositions. Superbly crafted arrangements, with subtle contrapuntal, antiphonal interplay of flute, sax, trumpet and piano and goosebumps-inducing vocals, flesh out affecting melodies that reverberate with a sense of longing and sadness. Particularly strong are "Numb” and "Emptyness” (sic), pieces whose titles mirror those psycho-emotional states with profound simplicity. Some pieces are perhaps cloyingly sentimental ("Photo Album”), but others are spot-on in their intensity and directness ("Rage”). Her sextet stalwarts Kurt Van Herk (tenor sax) and Nico Schepers (trumpet) contribute strong if unnecessarily conventional solos, which can be said of the leader herself. Nevertheless, Rigorova’s September Suite is an ardently compelling document of an artist whose music eloquently expresses the personal and universal elements of an event that transfixed us all. (Fortissimo/Palm)