Roberta Piket

Unbroken Line

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Talented young jazz musicians have frequently debuted as leaders on CDs by the Dutch label Criss Cross, as is the case with this outstanding release by pianist Roberta Piket. She's joined by a rhythm section consisting of bassist Mike Formanek and drummer Jeff Williams, along with a front line featuring trumpeter Scott Wendholt and Donny McCaslin, who doubles on tenor and soprano saxes. Piket's chops on her instrument are equal to her considerable abilities as a composer and arranger. The tense post-bop opener, an original titled "Brookland," finds her trading licks with each soloist in turn. Many listeners may not recognize her trio interpretation of Irving Berlin's "Always," which she reharmonized drastically. Piket also shines in her swinging interpretation of Marian McPartland's upbeat ballad "Threnody." Wendholt is superb as he negotiates Piket's challenging composition "Daily Affirmation." Tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson is added for "The End of a Love Affair" and "Some Enchanted Evening" (the second half of a Rodgers and Hammerstein medley), the latter which follows a dark but moving solo piano arrangement of "You'll Never Walk Alone." All in all, this is a promising start for a very gifted jazz musician.

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