Sunday, April 26, 2015

Roberta Piket: A Emerging Talent Offers Emanation: Solo Piano Vol 2

Roberta Piket: Emanation Solo Vol 2

From the very first notes of the very first song “Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise” from Roberta Piket’s Emanation (Solo Piano Volume 2)  one can hear the intent of purpose behind the pianist’s  interpretation of this well known standard. This is the second of Ms. Piket's solo piano efforts and it is a further step in her maturation as a formidable player.

 As Richie Beirach, a superb musician  in his own right, who is a one time teacher and now a long time friend of Ms. Piket states in the liner notes, a solo piano recording is very different from any other instrumental recording. There is no rhythm section to use as a life line, there is no interplay with others exploring the possibilities, there is only you and the piano and your own deepest, most personal sense of what it should sound like. Your ability honed to a fine edge, the  result of years of painstaking practice, relentless dedication and  patient listening . With this proficiency comes freedom  to express the nuances that make all the difference. These are the paths that a musician like Ms. Piket has taken to be able to attempt to portray this music within the solo piano format. In every sense of the word Ms. Piket successfully takes up the challenge, leaving herself bare to express the music the way she hears it and she does so in a most personal and satisfying way. Listen to her deeply moving “Haunted Heart” and you’ll be swept away in shear sensitivity of her playing.

Her choice of music is both interesting and challenging. Witness her kinetically alive left hand  on Dizzy’s masterpiece “Con Alma,” an accompaniment that fills this robust piece with just the right amount of rhythmic drive. She delves into the abstraction of Monk’s  “Ba Lue Bolivar Ba Lues” successfully bringing  her own refined refraction to the quirky  composition.  On Jerome Kern’s “All the Things You Are,” Ms. Piket revels in the beautiful of the well worn melody and runs spectacularly across the keyboard in a display of fluid facility. On Marian McPartland’s “Ambiance,” a song not often heard, Ms. Piket  captures  a sense  of reverence and her playing at the coda is a flourish of embroidered beauty not to be missed. “She confronts the challenge of performing  "Actual Proof,” a Herbie Hancock piece from his electric funk days with the Headhunters.  Originally a large group electronic piece, Ms. Piket’s  syncopated stabbing and piercing attack pulls this one off with just eighty-eight  keys and her own creative take on the sense of the song.

Roberta Piket photo by Daniel Sheehan
Perhaps the most telling testament to the progress in  Ms. Piket’s development lies in her own compositions like the delicate  “Saying Goodbye” or the free form unstructured  “Emanation,”  
but ultimately I have to agree with Mr. Beirach’s  liner note assessment of the highlight of this CD. Ms. Piket ends the program with a re-imagining of Chopin’s haunting miniature “Fantasy on a Theme.” The ruminations on this piece are delightful, like the wanderlust of a child's first time  exploring of a forest. Ms. Piket seems at once comfortable with bridging the gap between the classical and the improvisational possibilities this music can lead to. Spending  fifty minutes,  listening to an emerging talent's  solo piano voice on Emanation is time well spent.

1 comment:

  1. Ralph,
    Sincere thanks for this lovely review. Much appreciated.