Brittany Anjou Trio
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Brittany Anjou Trio

New York City, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE | AFM

New York City, NY | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Jazz Instrumental




"Ringer of The Week - Brittany Anjou - Enamiĝo Reciprokataj"

Here’s a rewarding and exciting trio album by pianist/composer Brittany Anjoy. She works with a core team of Gregory Chudzik/b and Nicholas Anderson/dr on almost all of the tracks, and her composing skills are matched by her warm technique.

The album is bookended by some electronic musings, with “Starlight” leading into an upbeat groove with dashes of McCoy Tyner, and the closing “Reciproka Elecktra” filled with supple impulses. A kinetic “Balliou for Bartok” features some rich bass work and sensuous ivories, leading into a bopping “Hard Boiled Soup.” There is a five part “Reciprokataj” ranging from a complex and classical derived “Cyrene” to a chimey modal ”Girls Who Play Violin,” a stately “Harfa” and a waltzing “Olive You.” Each movement is crammed with juicy flavors and deliciously sweet nuances, mixing sophisticated modern sounds with exciting grooves. Check this one out! - Jazz Weekly

"Brittany Anjou - Enamiĝo Reciprokataj"

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. - New York City Jazz Record

"Brittany Anjou - Enamiĝo Reciprokataj"

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 personnnel, 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. - Amazon Music

"Brittany Anjou - Enamiĝo Reciprokataj"

If the title of pianist Brittany Anjou's excellent new CD seems unfamiliar, it's because "Enamiĝo Reciprokataj" means "Reciprocal Love" in Esperanto - the would-be international language invented in 1887. That didn't quite work out, but Anjou, who views Esperanto as a "psychic dream," learned the language anyway, finding it useful in her travels around the world.

Playing with a distinctive blend of rhythmic and melodic keyboard prowess, Anjou possesses a style reminiscent of piano greats like Ahmad Jamal, Don Pullen and McCoy Tyner. Anjou's 10 original compositions are fiercely unpredictable, flowing smoothly like a brook or crashing percussively like a waterfall. Most of the tracks feature the strong support of Gregory Chudzik on bass and Nicholas Anderson on drums. Bassist Ari Folman-Cohen and drummer Ben Perowsky guest on "Reciprokataj V: Flowery Distress," while all the musicians come together on the closing track "Reciproka Elektra," a wonderfully futuristic, electronic journey. - Rochester City Newspaper


The well-traveled American pianist/composer Brittany Anjou titled her debut album in Esperanto because that language mirrors jazz improvisation in the way that both promote intercultural dialogue, democracy, and self-expression.

Inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka ballet, Enamigo Reciprokataj means reciprocal love and its content is defined by original compositions, some of them honoring great pianists. Featuring Greg Chudzik on bass and Nicholas Anderson on drums, the album includes an additional team of foundation builders - bassist Ari Folman-Cohen and drummer Ben Perowsky - on the two last tracks.

“Starlight” and the “Reciproka Elektra”, opening and closing tunes, respectively, are adorned with electronic manipulation and are strictly connected with each other. The former piece shows a strong grasp of melody and rich post-bop tradition, while the latter gets both trios together in an electronic composite that conjures up offbeat techno-like trances.

The five-part suite Reciprokataj, a shapeshifter, plays a central role in the journey, offering a variety of environments while bridging tradition and innovation with epiphanic manifestations. The classical influence on “Cyrene (Flight of the Butterfly)” is monumental, just as much as the rhythm is vertiginous; “Girls Who Play Violin” feels looser, exposing sweeping piano, plaintive pizzicato and arco bass, and rich cymbal work; the epic block chords that instate “Harfa” takes us to a cool, round 4/4 harmonic progression and relaxed brushed drumming that call for Anjou’s improvisation; and the lushly driven, 5/4-metered “Olive You” contains crescendos, sudden explosions, spiky accents, and melodic spirals, until the tempo is modified, firstly to accommodate the bassist’s solo and, secondly, drum stretches over a vamp; lastly, the compact pianism of “Flowery Distress” impelled me to imagine a musical crossing between Moby and Aaron Park’s Little Big, a sort of electronica-meets-indie-rock scenario.

Intercalated with parts of the suite, there are tributes to influential jazz pianists: the waltzing, brush-driven “Snuffaluffagas” homages Ahmad Jamal, while “Hard Boiled Soup” honors McCoy Tyner, throwing fractions of Kenny Barron into the mix. In turn, “Balliou for Bartok” heads into the bolero mode as it celebrates the classical virtues of Hungarian Béla Bartók.

Anjou is a virtuosa with a determined touch and nimble liveliness. This accomplished body of work, which took 13 years to be completed, is sufficiently gratifying to make us wonder what her next plans are. - Jazz Trail

"Brittany Anjou: Enamiĝo Reciprokataj"

There's a fascinating disjunction shaping the work of pianist Brittany Anjou. In one bend of being, her endeavors reflect extreme faith in the concept of catholicity. As a student of Esperanto—the "universal language" devised by Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof in the late 19th century—and a musician warmly embracing an ecumenical approach, open lines and the ability to connect clearly play as prime factors in her art. But in an opposing arc there comes an air of mystery, a taste of aural arcana, both in her flights and advances. Anjou may conjure thoughts of far-ranging icons and/or influences through the keys—touchstones McCoy Tyner and Ahmad Jamal, teacher-mentors Don Friedman and Jason Moran, groundbreaking neo-classicist composer Béla Bartók, West African gyil guru Bernard Woma—but her sound is all her own.

The title of this mind-bending debut date—representative of the words "enamor, enigma, and reciprocity," and literally translated (from Esperanto to English) as "reciprocal love"—offers different layers of suggestion, playing to awe, personal expression, and human connection all at once. "Starlight," the first number on this all-original effort, underscores that three-pronged concept in its brief lifespan: the trippy bookends, a lovably quirky core, and simpatico sensibilities demonstrated by Anjou and her trio mates—bassist Gregory Chudzik and drummer Nicholas Anderson—are perfectly aligned with the album's thematic tenets. - All About Jazz

"Brittany Anjou, Enamigo Reciprokataj"

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 - France Musiques



Brittany Anjou is a NYC based composer, pianist, vibraphonist, multi-instrumentalist, jazz educator and improviser. Exploring everything from Duke Ellington to Bikini Kill in her solo repertoire, this creative, versatile, and virtuoso performer hails from Seattle. Starting from the age of twelve Brittany has performed in award winning jazz ensembles throughout the U.S.A., Europe and Middle East. She has had the opportunity to perform with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Ernestine Anderson, Clark Terry, Elysian Fields, and The Shaggs. In February of 2019, Anjou released a 1960's style jazz piano trio album of originals entitled Enamiĝo Reciprokataj (Esperanto for "Reciprocal Love") on the Origin Records label, which received wonderful reviews on Downbeat and All About Jazz, claiming her a “virtuoso”, and her album “highly sophisticated” and the “year’s strongest debut”. She studied at New York University under the mentorship of Stefon Harris, Don Friedman, Ralph Alessi, and many others. Anjou directs, arranges, orchestrates, and composes for many artists professionally, including her own ensembles, The Brittany Anjou Trio, L.A.R.C.E.N.Y (25 piece chamber orchestra), Bi TYRANT (experimetal), Ghanaian Gyil Gala with Alfred Kpebsaane, and BEWAA, her original ensembles featuring Ghanaian xylophone.

Anjou was a key support musician in the mid 2010’s revival of 1960s all-girl outsider music band, The Shaggs, and supported Dot Wiggin in the studio recording 2013 album, Ready! Get! Go!, released on the label Alternative Tentacles.

She is working on an avant-gyil album titled Nong Voru (“Fake Love” in Dagara) with Ghanaian master xylophonist Alfred Kpebsaane, and original music for a series of poems entitled Astamaea (Arabic for "Listen").  Currently in residence at the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Cultural Center opera house in Kuwait, she works as a freelance composer, session musician, educator, headliner, and support performer.

To learn and support Anjou and her music you can donate to her on Patreon, purchase her releases on Bandcamp, subscribe to her email list, social media and YouTube channels.

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