By Alex W. Rodríguez | Published March 2020
Originally cut as an intimate birthday gift, this solo piano album is Roberta Piket’s tribute to the work of her husband, jazz composer and percussionist Billy Mintz. Now that she has decided to release it to a wider audience, listeners can witness the poignant sound of the pair’s mutual admiration.
The 10 compositions here allow Piket to demonstrate her range through heartfelt ballads, idiosyncratic post-bop, and even some blues and stride. This is a testament to Mintz’s creativity as well—oftentimes, these genres each crop up multiple times during a single piece, as on “Shmear” or “Blinds Eye.” Piket seems to delight in these surprising turns, bouncing deftly from mood to mood, always unafraid to improvise assertive flourishes along the way. The album is also full of warm and touching gestures where Piket’s affection for the tune’s composer is easy to hear: in the gentle harmony of the opening track, “Ghost Sanctuary,” or in her sweet rubato lilt throughout “Looking Down At The Stars.” Piket even takes a turn as a vocalist on “Destiny,” conveying deep longing on a lyric that touches on love in difficult times. For the album’s closer, “Cannonball,” Piket’s right hand dances through the quirky blues melody, foregrounding the playfulness of Mintz’s compositional approach.
It’s a rare treat to hear such a thorough exploration of one composer’s work by someone who knows it so well. Of course, Piket has been doing this for decades-—she plays in Mintz’s regular bands, which has played most of these tunes countless times during their years together. In this format, though, we can hear how much these two artists have taught one another along the way.
Domestic Harmony: Piket Plays Mintz: Ghost Sanctuary; Beautiful You; Looking Down At The Stars; Shmear; Flight; Destiny; Your Touch; Blinds Eye; Ugly Beautiful; Cannonball. (54:08)
Personnel: Roberta Piket, piano, vocals (6).