Piket, Roberta

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Piket, Roberta

Piket, Roberta, jazz pianist, composer; b. Flushing, Queens, N.Y., Aug. 9, 1965. Her father Frederick wrote liturgical music for Jewish services at the Free Synagogue of Flushing, where he was musical director; he died when she was eight. She began playing piano at age 11, began composing at age 15, and studied jazz at the New England Conservatory and computer science at the affiliated Tufts Univ. Piket received a lesson in voicings from Gillespie, who was a guest artist at Tufts in February 1985. She graduated with degrees in both fields in 1988, worked as a computer engineer for a year before deciding to return to Brooklyn and devote herself full time to music. She studied with Richie Beirach. She placed second out of 260 entries in the 1993 International Thelonious Monk-BMI Composers’ Competition. Her band has performed as opening act for Diane Schuur at the Celebrate Brooklyn Performing Arts Festival (1994), a 1998 concert at Flushing Town Hall, and at Smalls, Metronome and the Knitting Factory, N.Y. She held the piano chair with the all-female big band, Diva, for two years (1995–97), including two weeks at Tavern on the Green, N.Y. (1995) and appearances at the Hollywood Bowl. She also performed with Winard Harper, Sam Newsome, Benny Golson, and Joe Williams. She teaches at Long Island Univ. in Brooklyn; she curated and performed in the first month-long Women Leaders in Jazz Series at Fifth House Performance Space in Brooklyn, 1997. She is a recipient of a grant from the NE A. In 1998, her trio played at the Museum of Modern Art, Cleopatra’s Needle, and the Blue Note. She has written more than 40 originals and recompositions of standards, often with carefully worked out bass lines and counterpoints.


Unbroken Line (1997); Live at the Blue Note (1999).

—Lewis Porter