Saturday, May 26, 2012

Catching Up With Amina Figarova The Twelve Interview

Tell us about the origin of Twelve and is it easier or more difficult working with a larger ensemble? 

A.F. "Writing music for me is the way to express myself, it's like telling a story - what did I do yesterday, where have I been etc.? The only difference is I am telling my story through music. In fact it's easier, because music can describe what words can't. This band has existed for over 12 years, I started out with a Septet, formed this group in the Netherlands, and with September suite I've changed it to a sextet. I love to write for the band, I love to come up with different "risky" voicing arrangements, it's a great challenge and I treasure it."

In the liner notes you mention a feeling of "balance." Can you share with us this feeling, what you meant and how this feeling may transfer over into your art?

A.F. "I've spent a wonderful 20 years in the Netherlands, but I could not quite find myself to the level of "Balance" - when everything inside and around you are in sync, that's why we moved to N.Y. - that's for me the only place where I feel whole."

Your compositions are harmonically moving, I hate to say "emotionally charged" as the phrase does not give the appropriate connotation. Who are some of your influences as a pianist and how have these influences effected your approach to composition?

A.F. " It's hard to answer who influenced me most, I've spent 20 years playing classical music, after - jazz, listened to Hancock, Bud Powell, Lenny Tristano, Wynton Kelly and hundreds of other great musicians, somehow I think that general know-how generates one big influence, and it continues as we learn."

The economy is still on the ropes. As a jazz musician in New York do you now have to focus on working smarter not harder to make it?

A.F. I guess I've been lucky so far.

A new release (from my perspective) is simply a snapshot in time not necessarily a definitive statement on the artist one way or the other. Is it hard to keep the business and artistic sides of your work separate and finally what is the name of the last disc you purchased?

A.F. You are right, it is a snapshot in time, that's exactly what it is and in the meantime I am writing some new stuff. I just have bought "All Our Reasons" by Billy Hart.

Special thanks to Amina Figorova and Ann Braithwaite of Braithwaite and Katz for their valuable time! My review feature below along with a taste from You Tube!