Roberta Piket: Love and Beauty

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Karen Tweedy-Holmes

Roberta Piket

Roberta Piket is a gifted pianist and composer who leads one of the most accomplished and idiosyncratic piano trios in jazz. (Its other two members are Ratzo Harris, an eloquent six-string bass soloist, and Billy Mintz, a melodic, perversely quiet, oddly propulsive drummer who writes cool songs).

Piket’s musical erudition never calls attention to itself. Her reharmonization of “You’re My Everything” is extremely clever, but its point is to provide dynamic blowing changes. “Alone, Alone” is a rethinking of “Alone Together” and also a Lennie Tristano tribute. Piket acknowledges Tristano in her intricate two-handed lines with no chords and her accentual displacements, yet sounds like herself. “Up, Up and Away” is another highly inventive recomposition. The Fifth Dimension never dreamed of all those measures in 5/4 and 6/4. But the most striking Piket transformation of a standard is “So in Love.” It is achingly slow, piecing out the melody in careful, poignant testimony.

Of Piket’s four originals here, the most moving is a simple, loving eulogy, “For Uncle Harvey.” Billy Mintz’s “Destiny” introduces two new sounds to the album that fit within its atmosphere: Rich Perry’s plaintive tenor saxophone and Piket’s vibratoless, waiflike singing voice.

Love and Beauty is a work of such sustained unity and clarity that you can enter it anywhere. If you are an impatient person pressed for time, start with “So in Love.” Piket will take it from there.