Roberta Piket (p), Masa Kamaguchi (b), Jeff Williams (d)
Bar code: 84 27328 42088 4
The music on this recording reflects the creativity and contemporary concepts of this talented pianist. Roberta Piket also reveals us its lyrical sensitivity as a composer, as well her penchant for reharmonizing familiar standards in pleasingly unusual ways.
This same trio have been succesfully playing gigs together at the Blue Note. Jeff Williams, a master of dynamics and concentration, so admired for his delicate and sensitive playing its easy to forget how hard he can swing. Masa Kamaguchis commitment to every note and his amazing ears allow the music to develop organically.
"Roberta Piket plays the piano with the sensibility of someone on an endless search, yet she makes music that is accessible to the listener who is willing to meet her halfway. On speak, memory, her steely determination is balanced by a willingness to interact conversationally with bassist Masa Kamaguchi and drummer Jeff Williams (her musical partner for the last 9 years), and a gentle, knowing way with the melodies of standards such as Lost In The Stars, and The Man That Got Away.
Piket seldom stays in one mode for too long; she efficiently develops an idea and then restlessly moves on and plays something quite different, with Kamaguchi and Williams ably responding to her maneuvers on a moments notice. Long after the individual tracks have ended, her provocative improvisations linger in the memory. The solo on her composition Too Sensible starts off with a series of short phrases, playing against Williams light cymbal and snare drum figures, and then gradually digs in and swings hard. The title track finds Piket and company in overdrive, with the pianists right hand and brief chordal bursts charging over Kamaguchis walking bass and Williams colorful use of the entire drum set.
Her treatment of Jim Webbs Up, Up And Away (a 1967 hit for the popular vocal group, The Fifth Dimension), makes a fine vehicle for creative improvisation. Piket has a haunting way of stating the melody, turning it over for three minutes before beginning a solo that starts off airily and then rapidly gets flinty, with her left and right hands seemingly working against each other. After a brief restatement of the tune, the track ends with a polyrhythmic turn by Williams, running counter to the pianists hard, repetitive chords."
By David A. Orthmann (All About Jazz)
"In the CD jacket, there is a photograph of a father holding his infant daughter on his knee and she is thumping on the piano. The girl of course is Roberta Piket and this is a tribute to her father and a collection of memories from her past. This autobiographical album glistens with faint and crystal clear memories. Her father died when she was eight, but she celebrates him on "Speak, Memory," the title of Vladimir Nabokov's autobiography. Likewise, "Hands" recalls nerve damage that Piket had suffered. "Gone" is her faithful old Corolla that was swiped in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Piket's playing is neither somber nor sentimental. Her touch is lyrical and articulate; her tone is contemplative and ultimately cheerful.
If there is any yin to her yang, it is her band mates, Masa Kamuguchi on bass and Jeff Williams on drums. They supply the darker tones, a counterpoint to her optimism. Eyebrows no doubt will be raised by the selection of the popular Fifth Dimension song, "Up, Up And Away." Piket chose this because of the vivid memory of spinning her brothers' 45 when she was young. Piket's sparkling interpretation sticks to the well-known melody that may conjure up different responses to different listeners. It may strike some as painfully insipid or gently nostalgic or simply happy. But that's Piket's point: music will speak to you in different ways."
By John Doll (Jazzreview.com)