Sitting in the middle of an interactive trio, pianist/composer Roberta Piket unplugs herself from her Alternating Current
and delves deep into acoustic piano trio mode on Love and Beauty
. Joined by bassist Billy Mintz and drummer Ratzo Harris, the set explores, by turns, lyrical loveliness, gentle loving affection, and sharp-edged abstraction with an old fashioned straight-at-you intensity underlain by a good deal of implacable momentum.
The disc opens with the Piket-penned "I'm My Everything," a tune that sounds as if it must be a rousing crowd-pleaser in her live sets. Shifting from a light-hearted groove into darker zones full of charged communal empathy, Harris' pulse fibrillates out of its steady pulse at times, while Mintz weaves airy textures behind Piket's succinct improvisation.
"For Uncle Harvey" is a caress of a song, a sweet and poignant ballad. The trio's take on Jimmy Webb's "Up, Up and Away," that felt a bit saccharine on the Fifth Dimension's take on the tune, gets an absorbing reshaping with Piket's improvisational flight from the familiar melody.
Mintz penned the three centerpiece tunes of the set. Flight" soars with light-stepping intensity, while "Love and Beauty" is wistful and tenderly introspective and "Destiny" lets Piket try out her vocal chops on a smoky, wee hours torch ballad featuring the smoldering saxophone of Rich Perry.
"Claude's Clawed" gets "out there" with a rolling spontaneity churning along behind Piket's spikey keyboard work, leading into the pensive Cole Porter gem, "So In Love."
Roberta Piket, unplugged on Love and Beauty
turns in her strongest set to date.
Personnel: Roberta Piket: piano, vocals (6); Billy Mintz: drums; Ratzo Harris: bass; Rich Perry: tenor saxophone (6).