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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 moment's 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 pianist's right hand and brief chordal bursts charging over Kamaguchi's walking bass and Williams' colorful use of the entire drum set.
Her treatment of Jim Webb's '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 pianist's hard, repetitive chords.
Track Listing: Too Sensible; A Time For Love; Gone; Up,Up And Away; Lost In The Stars; When The Sun Comes Out; Hands; Speak, Memory; The Man That Got Away.
Personnel: Roberta Piket--piano; Masa Kamaguchi--bass; Jeff Williams--drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.