I was born in 1965!

Someone created a Wikipedia post about me and they took my birth date from an incorrect entry in allmusic.com.


Allmusic is not an authoritative source.

I am turning 50 in less than a month an no one is taking that away from me.

Solo Piano Master Class: Listen In

This audio is from a master class I did at the 2014 Jazz Educators’ Network conference in Dallas, TX. It was entitled A (Not So) Beginner’s Guide to Solo Jazz Piano. Special thanks to Brian Lawrence, music student at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA, for recording it.

I hope you find this master class interesting, inspiring and informative. If you have questions or comments, the comment section is open or feel free to use the Contact page.


If you like this recording, please share it on Facebook, Twitter or your favorite social site by using the buttons below.

I released my first solo piano CD, Solo, in 2012. This spring, I’m looking forward to releasing the follow-up, Emanation (Solo: Volume 2). My former teacher, the great Richie Beirach, wrote wonderful liner notes, and my old high school friend, the brilliant artist Kyle Baker, created amazing cover art.

If you’d like to be notified when it is released in the spring, please sign up for my mailing list on the right.

Roberta Piket - Emanation - Cover

If you sincerely wanted to create merely a “thought experiment”, why would you commercially release it?

And if you sincerely want to hip people to Kind of Blue, why not pay your PR firm to promote THE ORIGINAL, instead of spending all that money recording and promoting your creepily soulless imitation?

The reason I find this record so disturbing is that it contains (and brings to their logical conclusion) all the qualities that are most rewarded in our culture today: imitation, gimmickry, and artifice.

Django Gold: In His Own Words

“I don’t know why people are so upset. The fact that I even know who Sonny Rollins is just proves how cool I am. Plus I can spell Miles Davis and Dexter Gordon’s names correctly. I am not just cool, I am hip. I am a hip hipster. The hippest hipster in town. How else would I know who Sonny Rollins is if I weren’t hip? He plays the saxophone right? (Notice how correctly I spelled “saxophone”.) In fact, we are such good friends, I thanked him for letting me use his name in my hysterical satire. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t let me use his name. Only haters care about that. If you don’t get how cool and hip I am, then you are a hater. Hater. Hater. Hater.

I dig Miles and Dexter and Diz. You can tell I dig them because I used their names in my brilliant caricature. Also, I used the word “dig” twice just now. Did you notice that?

As I proved in my ingenious pasquinade, I am hip enough to know that the drums are a very loud instrument. When I was little, I wanted to play the drums so everyone would have to look at me and see how clever I am. But now I don’t care about being clever. I just want to be hip. And I am hip. I am so hip. Just look at my sulking twitter profile photo. Is that hip or what?

So you haters can all stop attacking me. Sonny Rollins is not a hater. In fact, if you asked Sonny what he thinks of my piece, I’m sure he’d say he loved it and that I am so hip. Go on, ask him! Right now. I’ll wait.”

-By Django Gold as told to Roberta Piket

The Mintz Quartet Walking Tour

No more sneaking oversize instruments past the airlines! No more cramped economy seats! No more European trains where you jump up in a panic every time the conductor makes an announcement in a language you don’t understand! No more gas guzzling tour buses that smell like a bathroom! The Mintz Quartet announces a glorious five-day tour where the band can literally walk from one gig to the next (or at least to the nearest subway stop)!

Drummer/composer and band leader Billy Mintz commented thoughtfully, “traveling is such a drag…you know? So, man, I just thought, “hey, why not book a tour where we don’t actually have to, like, tour?”

The tour features the original quartet from Billy’s 2013 leader debut, Mintz Quartet:John Gross: tenor saxophone; Roberta Piket: piano, organ; Putter Smith: bass; Billy Mintz: drums, percussion, compositions.

Below is a list of all the performances. For more info please email contact@thirteenthnoterecords.com.

Billy Mintz was born in Queens, New York. During his formative years in New York City, he played and recorded with the Lee Konitz Nonet, Kundalini with Perry Robinson and Badal Roy, the Eddie Daniels Quartet, Gloria Gaynor, and the Harold Danko Quartet.

In 1981 Mr. Mintz relocated to Los Angeles where he was a member of the Mike Garson Trio with Stanley Clarke, the Kim Richmond Sextet, the Bobby Shew Quintet, the Joey Sellers’ Jazz Aggregation, the Alan Broadbent Trio and the Vinny Golia Quartet. He also performed several times with the Mose Allison Trio and did a stint with the Merv Griffin Show band. In 1988 he toured Europe with saxophonist Charles Lloyd.

Since 2003 Mr. Mintz has lived in New York where he has recorded and performed with the Hal Galper Trio, the Russ Lossing Trio, the Mark Feldman-Sylvie Courvoisier Quartet and others. He also leads a ten-piece ensemble (the Two Bass Band) and has performed numerous solo drum set concerts worldwide.

DateTimeVenueAddressLink for More Details
05/24/20147:30 pmSmalls Jazz Club183 W. 10th St., New YorkMore Details
05/23/20148:00 pmIbeam168 7th Street, BrooklynMore Details
05/21/20148:00 pmBarbes376 9th St., BrooklynMore Details
05/19/20148:30 pmGreenwich House46 Barrow St., New YorkMore Details
05/18/20149:30 pmThe Firehouse Space246 Frost St., Williamsburg, BrooklynMore Details

What is a Musician?

I’ve been looking at those new Gap ads around town – some skinny people (most of whom I’ve never heard of) labelled “actor or musician”. They look cool, but I don’t see any instruments and I’m wondering exactly who they are and what they do. Usually when our culture discusses a musician they’re referring to a rock star. Obviously there are many trained musicians who take up pop music. But is there a standard for calling someone a “musician”? Is Rod Stewart, who once acknowledged in an interview that he literally knows three chords on the guitar, a musician? What about a rapper who does not and cannot engage melody or rhythm? Is anyone who makes music a musician, or does being musician require a certain skill set, whether technical, intellectual or aural?

In your opinion, what is a musician? Please comment!

Check Out Lena Bloch’s New CD – and Read My Liner Notes

I wrote liner notes for saxophonist Lena Bloch’s debut CD. Check out this great album featuring tenor saxophonist Lena Bloch with guitarist Dave Miller, and long-time compadres bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Billy Mintz. (Did I really say “compadres”?)
“In jazz”, muses Lena Bloch, “many opposites come together: mind and feeling, responsibility and abandonment, looseness and precision, improvisation and composition. I just love that.”

What a perfect way to describe Lena’s long-overdue debut CD. Lena, Dave, Cameron and Billy are masters of technique and capable of great musical intellect; but they understand that those qualities exist only to serve the greater goals of feeling and spontaneity. Through the delicate balance of opposites, they create art that is in the moment, yet timeless: a perfect tribute to Lena’s musical forebears, Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh and Lennie Tristano.

Born in Moscow, Russia, Lena immigrated to Israel in 1989, attending the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance. At the start of the Golf War she fled to Holland. “In Holland, I practiced constantly and ate up the great Utrecht Library collection of recorded jazz.”

In 1991, she moved to Germany, where she was accepted by the prestigious Cologne Conservatory. There she found two mentors: drummer Keith Copeland and trumpeter John Marshall. She began gigging with them, as well as with the drummers Alvin Queen and Steve Reid. She also toured with the German ethno-rock pioneer band “Embryo”, playing Arabic and Turkish classical music, and started her first quartet.

Around this time Lena met Lee Konitz. His impact would be deep and everlasting. “He introduced me to the music of Warne Marsh…. What Lee had, and what I heard in Warne’s playing, was this unity of profound knowledge and profound feeling. It was the ultimate sound for me.”

In 1994, Lena received a full scholarship to attend a summer jazz program in North America, where she studied with Yusef Lateef. She was offered an academic scholarship to attend full time, but for personal reasons she returned to Germany. “I had a hard time living, although I kept playing.”

Lena returned to North America in 1999 on a full scholarship to the prestigious Banff Workshop in Canada where she played sessions with Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, Ari Hoenig, and Kenny Werner.
Back in Cologne, she graduated from the Cologne Conservatory. Over the next several years she continued to compose, as well as play and record with her quartet, winning several accolades and awards.

In 2003 Lena attended U. Mass, Amherst as a graduate student, receiving a teaching assistantship. She moved to New York in 2008 and began playing with several Tristano disciples: Ted Brown, Connie Crothers, and Joe Solomon. She now lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she has widened her circle and become an active participant in one of the most fertile and interesting jazz scenes of recent memory.

Feathery begins, appropriately, with Hi Lee, Lena’s tribute to her mentor and good friend. The huge bass sound and swinging, melodic phrases that open the program are instantly recognizable as those of Cameron Brown. Listen, next, to Lena and guitarist Dave Miller as their improvised phrases intertwine, creating a spontaneous counterpoint that sounds composed. (Just one example of those opposites Lena spoke of.) Billy Mintz’s responsive drumming rises and falls with the intensity of Lena and Dave’s interaction. It’s almost impossible to imagine any other drummer “allowing” this piece to develop so organically and completely.

Rubato, by Dave Miller, is a vehicle for collective free improvisation of the sort Tristano pioneered. “Dave’s has extraordinary empathy and intuition,” Lena says. “He has exciting melodic ideas and can improvise harmonically, which is a rare quality.”

Cameron Brown contributes Baby Suite, in which an intriguing melodic line is interspersed with solos approached in a fascinating variety of ways: Cameron’s virtuosic solo bass improvisation; Billy’s masterful brush solo; Dave’s ideas of bell-like clarity that build with the rhythm section; and finally Lena’s thoughtful and assured linear explorations, during which the entire band modulates as one into a medium tempo groove with no set changes.

Of Cameron, Lena comments: “His sound and approach have always fascinated me. He has such translucent beauty in his tone, this lightness, precision, projection out of the deep, and – oh, how he swings!”

Lena effectively reharmonizes Gene de Paul’s Star Eyes as Starry Eyed. “I was intensely thinking of Warne Marsh when I wrote it,” she notes.

Marshmallow, a rarely played composition by Marsh himself, follows. It’s easy to hear why this great tune is underplayed, with its challenging rhythmic displacements and angular lines. Dave’s compelling solo avoids the inherent traps of a tune based on a classic standard such as Cherokee. Instead he probes for new ways through these very common harmonic changes.

Lena explains the pensive and dark Farewell to Arms: “The title relates to a certain point in life when you no longer care about protecting your own ‘self.’ You give up all your ‘arms’ and go unprotected, only giving what you have to give.”

After this lovely introspection, Ted Brown’s Featherbed is a delightful release, beginning with Billy’s melodic drum solo. Following their relaxed yet precise unison statement of the head (there are those opposites again) Lena and Dave solo in turn, supported by the telepathic team of Cameron and Billy, whose forty-year friendship is audible in every beat. Cameron’s walking solo is a lesson in how it’s done.

There are no solos on the lovely ballad, Beautiful You, composed by Billy Mintz. Instead, the melody is etched and ornamented in many different ways by one or more of the musicians.

Lena says, “Billy Mintz had done only a couple of gigs with my quartet before this date. It feels as if playing with him goes beyond conventional time and space… an incredible continuity. Billy is a spontaneous orchestrator.”

Feathery closes with a brief reprise of Hi Lee, a reminder that, while she is dedicated to musical growth and exploration, Lena’s roots in the jazz tradition are strong and deep.

“Our recording was done all in one room, no headphones, in one or two takes. There was such mutual trust, intuition, and interaction. We hope to keep this ‘organic’ quartet together.”

Indeed, we the listeners should be so fortunate. Getting to know Lena has been a pleasure and a privilege for me, as I’m sure getting to know her music will be for you. I, for one, am glad she finally made it to Brooklyn, from Russia, with love.

Roberta Piket
October 2013

Subscribe to Roberta's mailing list.
We'll keep you posted on Roberta's CD releases, and performances in your area.