The efforts put forth by ensembles comprised of friends always seem to have a special spark. When such a group comes together under ideal circumstances, the results can be spellbinding. Take note: This is exactly the case with the collaborative group of pianist Roberta Piket, bassist Harvie S, and drummer Billy Mintz on their new recording, You’ve Been Warned.
Individually, Piket, Harvie S, and Mintz have found success in a myriad of projects. But it is their collective identity that has really cemented itself over the past decade. Mintz and Harvie S have been collaborators since the 1970s. Their most notable affiliation was as members of pianist Alan Broadbent’s trio. Piket met Harvie S in the mid-1990s and incorporated the bassist into her fold. Piket and Mintz have been partners in music and life since 2001. They married in 2011.
The dimension of the group’s interconnectedness is obviously vast and varied. Their own work together as a rhythm section began organically. Piket and Mintz found themselves bound even closer together during the pandemic lockdown. They managed to work on each other’s music at home. It wasn’t long before they included their friend, Harvie S, at first with open windows and masks.
Workshopping led to the idea of going a step further: Recording an album. Harvie S already had experimented a bit with recording on his own and brought the idea of recording in the most relaxed conditions, namely at home. Over two days in May 2021, the trio met at Piket and Mintz’s home where Harvie S set up shop and engineered the session. Piket was pleased to have the luxury of not only playing her own Steinway piano but to have the freedom to take as much time as needed. David Kowalski would come in and help mix and master the album.
The trio ensured that each member was represented in the material selected to record. Each brought three pieces that evolved through their shedding. Many of the compositions were older pieces being revisited or recorded for the first time. Their different composing styles lent the album a varied program that covers a wide swath of moods and textures.
The recording begins with Harvie S’s “Pyramid;” an older piece gets a fresh new reading that highlights the tune’s wistful melody against a dense yet playful harmony and floating percussion. Piket’s “A History” is a tribute to David Liebman and Richie Beirach, her mentor and friend. The disjunct melody is aided by the pace and minor chords to create a sense of mystery. “Billy’s Bop” is a snappy and swinging original from Mintz that highlights the trio’s ease in the bop lexicon, while Piket’s “Master Plan” shows the pianist’s love for the sounds of Brazil, as the piece takes hints of samba rhythm and bossa cool.
Mintz’s beautiful ballad “Beautiful You” has become a standard of sorts for a generation of musicians, resonating here under Piket’s deft touch. Harvie S wrote “Yukimi’s Song” for his wife and it proved to be a thoughtful composite with intriguing changes of mood and feel. Two versions of MIntz’s “Flight” follow. The first turns the piece into a lovely slow ballad, while Mintz kicks off the second version with an energetic drum solo that infects the performance with zest. The title track was written by Harvie S during the 2020 election cycle. The ominous tone leads to a spiritual dirge with the trio adding a vocal admonition. The recording concludes with Piket’s “Remorse and Acceptance,” a zigzagging piece that allows the group to stretch out in freely played improvisation.
Recording in the comforts of home with people that are loved allows for music of great heart and warmth to come to fruition. In the case of You’ve Been Warned, Roberta Piket, Harvie S, and Billy Mintz came together at a time when they needed to be together, to express everything that had been pent up during the pandemic, with poignant results.
released August 12, 2022
Roberta Piket - piano
Harvie S - bass
Billy Mintz - drums
supported by 7 fans who also own “You've Been Warned”
I had to get this record when I read it about being announced, Chris Potter is our generation's Michael Brecker and a live recording at the legendary village is surely gonna hit all the right places . Cop this Ali.E.Emmanuel