The daughter of a European composer and a Great American Songbook singer, native New Yorker Roberta Piket is a pianist who loves to swing while exploring the more adventurous harmonic possibilities of jazz and improvised music.
Roberta’s father was the Austrian composer Frederick Piket, whose works were performed by the New York Philharmonic under famed conductor Dimtri Metropolis. (The elder Piket, who passed away when Roberta was eight, is also renowned for his significant contribution to the musical liturgy of reform Judaism.)
From her mother, Cynthia, Roberta learned by ear the tunes of Porter, Gershwin, Kern, Rodgers, and Berlin (as well as accompanying lyrics).
In her early teens, a chance encounter with a classic LP rescued from a flea market changed the course of Roberta’s life.
“My older brother had bought a few copies of an old Muse LP of Walter Bishop Jr.’s trio for 25 cents each. He played it for me and I flipped. I just fell in love with the sound of the jazz piano trio. The CD was called Speak Low, and I found the original sheet music for that tune in my mother’s collection. I learned all the songs on that record,” which, in addition to the title tune, included Alone Together, Milestones and On Green Dolphin Street.
Shortly after that epiphany, Roberta became fascinated with the 20th century classical recordings that had belonged to her late father. Soon she was dividing her time between the stacks of old sheet music in the attic, learning standards, and the Bartok and Schoenberg records and scores in her father’s library. Sprinkled into the mix were a handful of Ellington scores borrowed from the New York Public Library, and saturation listening to WRVR-FM, the New York jazz radio station at the time.