A Sophisticated Debut: New Terrority for Jazz Invention
The title of this album, Enamigo Reciprokoataj, seems to be a gimisch of languages and in a way it is, being Esperanto. To my knowledge, it is second Esperanto-related musical recording; Lou Harrison's La Koro Sutro is the other. Brittany Anjou, pianist and trio leader, is the composer and arranger of the ten-track 58-minute instrumental debut. The title, roughly Reciprocal Love, is more about mutual relationships, certainly key in jazz performance. Her piano style, filled with chords, is energetic and melodic, cheerful, and a tad witty. Flavors of Red Garland's chording, Oscar Peterson's speedy touch, and the hard percussion of McCoy Tyner blended with the contemporary avant-garde spark her performance. Anjou's original art stems from her wide training and extensive international travels, studying jazz with Stefon Harris, Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer, Tony Moreno, and drummer Sherrie Maricle. She also had classical studies with Milan Slavicky and explored Ghanan balafon gyil music with Bernard Woma and other masters. She has performed with an Arabic orchestra and a punk band. The album includes a five-part suite sandwiched around other pieces that relates to other jazz pianists, as Snuffaluffagas (Ahmad Jamal) and Hard Boiled Soup (McCoy Tyner). Bassist Gregory Chudzik bows a solo in Girls Who Play Violin. Drummer Nicholas Anderson expands his metered ornamentation in Ballious for Bartok. The 5/4 beat of Olive You leads to a wild crescendo and prolonged chord before continuing into strange territory — a mini-suite within its ten minutes. The final two tracks have a change in personnel, with Ben Perowsky at the drum set and Ari Foman-Cohen on bass; electronic processing in the last piece marks the reprise of the leading work, Starlight, and mixes both trios. This album, so highly sophisticated with an original jazz perspective, is a roaring introduction that demands attention.