"Exploring a new sonic palette with a vintage Wurlitzer electric piano and some tastefully chosen effects pedals, Roberta brings her harmonically adventurous sensibility and serpentine lines to a supremely grooving and interactive quartet. "
Critically acclaimed acoustic pianist Robert Piket sets aside her Steinway piano and decides to explore the realms of electric jazz at the helm of a Wurlizter200A piano. She is joined on this voyage by the very solid trio of Bruce Arnold (guitar), Cliff Schmitt ( bass), and Kirk Driscoll (drums).The results are 11 superb tracks , which flirt with old school fusion, but are cemented in the traditions of electric jazz.
The opening notes of "Conclusive Evidence" propel the listener back to the earliest days of electric jazz with its quirky, hypnotic keyboard line and exploratory guitar forays . Improvisation is also on the menu here with notable tracks like " Unfair Competition" where Roberta revvs up her Wurly to a fevered pitch until she has it sounding like R2-D2 cursing out C3PO. "A Scene Of One" begins ominously and ends in a discordant caterwauling of mismatched musical lines which somehow all tie in together. There are also tracks which could be categorized as "fusion" in the classic sense of the term such as " Mixed Signals" which showcases guitarist Bruce Arnold's John McLaughlin-like lightning fast phrasings.
Every good jazz records needs ballads to properly separate the musical ideas and give each song more breathing space. This record is no exception with tracks like "Fatherless Figure" and "Bad Mistake" where Ms. Piket displays a sound and style reminiscent of Chick Corea's acoustic work. The quartet is at it's best though when allowed to fire on all cylinders. " Just A Blues", "Speak, Memory" , and the superlative closer "Blue Slipper Frogs" are all excellent vehicles to demonstrate the extreme talents of all members. Great fat n' funky bass lines get carved up by the fast and fluid lines from guitarist Bruce Arnold , meshing cohesively with the reverb drenched Wurlitzer 200A piano of Roberta Piket.
This disc is a fantastic debut into the realm of electric jazz by a remarkably talented player/composer who has enough foresight and wisdom to surround herself with an impressive supporting cast. Fans of contemporary jazz where melody and virtuosity are held in perfect equilibrium will be well served here.