Roberta Piket, West Coast Trio, 13th Note Records
The seasoned New York pianist traveled west to record with a sterling rhythm section of veteran Los Angeles players. The bicoastal combination clicked. Drummer Joe La Barbera, bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz, and—on two pieces—guitarist Larry Koonse meld with Piket in a collection of standards and originals by her and others. After Piket wrote “Mentor,” she discovered that it reminded her of her former teacher Richie Beirach and dedicated it to him. Her eight-bar exchanges with LaBarbera highlight the track. Zippy versions of Chick Corea’s “Humpty Dumpty,” Richard Rodgers’ “Falling In Love With Love” and George Shearing’s “Conception” are up-tempo successes balanced by the trio’s ballad artistry in Piket’s “A Bridge To Nowhere.” In Walter Donaldson’s 1920s ballad “My Buddy,” she lingers over the melody and Oleszkiewicz caresses the verse mid-chorus. They revive the song so touchingly that one wonders why it isn’t performed more often.