For pianist Brittany Anjou's new recording, she uses Esperanto for the title (translated as "Unrequited Love") as a symbol for the international language utilized to create her music.
The not-quite-centerpiece of the recording is the five-part Reciprokataj Suite—not-quite because the sections are 'interrupted' by other originals yet the album feels like a beautifully unified whole. The disc opens with "Starlight", which finds electronic tape play emerging into a joyously propulsive line Anjou, bassist Gregory Chudzik and drummer Nicholas Anderson massage delightfully. Then tape play returns in furious conversation with trio.
The first part of the suite, "Cyrene (Flight of the Butterfly)", does indeed evoke its dedicatee, Anjou daringly pounding out happily repetitive lines, the rhythm section with her at every moment. Part II, "Girls Who Play Violin", is a delicate and moody statement with beautiful bowed bass. Part III, "Harfa", is an elegant and stately fanfare while Part IV, "Olive For You", is an extended love waltz in which piano is exquisitely punctuated by drums, raucous while retaining quiet power. Part V, "Flowery Distress", is complex and darkly tense and "Elektra" is a kind of epilogue that closes the suite and the album with electronic distortion à la opener "Starlight".
The first of the non-suite pieces are quietly swinging "Snuffaluffagas", a tribute both to Sesame Street and Ahmad Jamal with a lovely innocence that recalls childhood dancing; "Balliou for Bartok", a darkish yet jaunty line, bass and drums creating a rock-live groove; and "Hard Boiled Soup", a tribute to McCoy Tyner.
There's a sensibility about Anjou's work that reflects how jazz can meet a more structured classical approach and emerge with something very different indeed.