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Roberta Piket: Sides, Colors

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Thematic diversity is the most intriguing aspect of pianist, bandleader, composer and arranger Roberta Piket’s latest release, Sides, Colors. She alternates between trio and large-group settings, and blends cuts that accent her acoustic piano playing with those featuring her on electric or organ. She even splits production duties with either Bill Mobley or Billy Mintz.

But no matter the mood or setting, Piket proves a capable, exciting player. She displays a soft, romantic side in her versions of Bill Evans’ “Laurie” and Jules Styne’s “Make Someone Happy,” ably reflecting the former’s lyrical touches and providing flair and edge in her melodic embellishments on the latter. Drummer Mintz’s lone arrangement is “Billy’s Ballad,” one of six cuts he’s penned. The strings add a pensive, striking quality to Piket’s lines and Mintz’s colorations. Johannes Weidenmueller’s most memorable bass solo comes during the opening section of “My Friends and Neighbors (For Sam Rivers),” a spiritual reworked as a tribute piece to the great avant-gardist.

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