The first major album of the young New York pianist and composer Brittany Anjou, is a suite in five parts composed around esperanto, the international "built" language.
As for the English title of Brittany Anjou's album, "Reciprocal Love", which becomes "Enamiĝo Reciprokataj" (pronounced En-äh-mee-joh Reh-sih-pro-kah-tye ), the same goes for for the traditional language of jazz piano. She likes to translate it into something very original.
Jazz fans will revel in familiar influences in what Brittany Anjou calls her "inner trio dialogues". Her percussive approach and dynamism recall McCoy Tyner, her quickness and delicacy, Oscar Peterson, her flexible block chords, Red Garland and her mastery of time and space, Ahmad Jamal.
But the traces of her heroes are filtered through her sensitivity and his taste for experimentation, both subtle and daring. The drummer Ben Perowsky, who appears on two tunes, describes Reciprokataj
"as if Ahmad Jamal met reggae."
Brittany Anjou's compositions are read as a series of points of view on the art of the trio. With its minimalist rehearsals, it is an anthology of songs both dreamlike and alert, where free-jazz meets Rachmaninoff and electronics.
"I'm passionate about dreams as a framework for psychic elaboration," says Anjou. I usually work on music until five in the morning and put everything I write on my bedside table. I let my subconscious get by while I sleep. I have been doing this since I was a kid."
Brittany Anjou wrote half of what became "Enamiĝo Reciprokataj" between 17 and 21 years of age in her hometown, Seattle, and completed it years later when she moved to New York. While developing the language of her trio, she began writing music inspired by Stravinsky's Petrushka ballet - in particular the interpretation of the young Chinese pianist Yuja Wang. "She's tearing up tears. I was immediately moved to write and tour after seeing her play. She advanced the explorations of the second half of my suite," explains Britanny Anjou.
The trio, on most of "Enamiĝo Reciprokataj" includes contemporary bassist Greg Chudzik and drummer Nick Anderson. Bassist Ari Folman-Cohen and Ben Perowsky, whom she first knew from her work with Uri Caine's trio and Elysian Fields, are invited on two tracks.
"I titled my album "Enamiĝo Reciprokataj" in Esperanto because this language is a mirror of jazz improvisation, she writes. The words reflect the seduction, interaction and mystery of improvisation. The meaning "reciprocal love", also translated as "mutual break", is a double meaning that is as much for improvisation as for the attraction / repulsion movement of love relationships. This represents the enigma of improvisers in front of their spontaneous love of their instrument, which moreover, can convince an audience to fall in love with their love, each time they go on stage! For me, Esperanto is a romance. I wanted this album to be discreetly lit, a cozy room for people to drink and dine, while offering a beautiful landscape to be quiet together. Jazz and Esperanto are contemporary languages and both promote intercultural dialogue."
Brittany Anjou was born in 1984 in Minot, North Dakota. As a single child, she began playing the piano at age five, and soon after moved to Seattle with her mother, pianist, flutist and music teacher, who listened to many jazz records at home. Inspired by the great Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez , she began studying jazz at age 12. Her meeting with Clark Terry, at the age of 16, at the Stanford Jazz Workshop was going to prove decisive by the encouragement he gave her while listening to her accompany him on a blues. When she arrived at New York University, she was taught by Stefon Harris," the best teacher I have ever had." She says. More recently, at the School for Improvised Music, she fed on the private lessons of Jason Moran and Vijay Iyer who pushed her to go after her compositional desires.
*Translated from French