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Dave Pike

Dave Pike was born in Detroit, MI in 1938, he started off as a drummer and later learned marimba and vibraphone. Pike's family moved to Los Angeles in 1954, he played backing for artists such as Dexter Gordon, Harold Land, Carl Perkins, Paul Bley and Curtis Counce. Pike played often around California and then moved to New York in 1960 to tap into a busier Jazz scene.

Pike found greater success on the East Coast, probably occurring through joining the popular Herbie Mann's group with whom he appears on several early recordings. Pike became heavily influenced by the Latin Jazz scene and in 1964, he recorded the album "Manhattan Latin" released on Decca.

1965 saw Pike session along side Herbie Hancock (of Blue Note fame), Billy Butler (of Prestige roster) and others culminating in a commercial but relatively unsuccessful (sales wise) album on Atlantic, "Jazz for the Jet Set". Pike featured on marimba and Hancock on Hammond. A stylish Pan-Am stewardess wearing a space helmet featured on The album cover which was designed by Italian, Emilio Pucci. It was this album that Pike experimented more with soul, taking inspiration from Atlantic records who he was signed to at the time and who were synonymous with the experimental soul genre of 60's America.

Later in 1966 Pike recorded "The Doors of Perception" (taken from Aldous Huxley's 1954 book of the same name), with Lee Konitz on saxophone though it was only released by Atlantic subsidiary label "Vortex" in 1970.

Pike left New York for Germany possibly because of Atlantic shelving "The Doors of Perception" and the attraction of European open mindedness to the experimental music Pike was flirting with at that time. In 1968, Pike joined German Jazz label MPS and recruited Oscar Peterson, Jean-Luc Ponty and a guitarist named Volker Kriegel who played Indian ragas. Around this time Pike usually played vibes, Kriegel guitar, sitar and electric bass, J.A. Rettenbacher on bass, cello and electric bass, and Peter Baumeister on drums. This collective became known as The Dave Pike Set.

In 1968 "Got The Feelin" was recorded in Holland, a funky selection of tracks inspired by popular artists such as James Brown and Sam & Dave, the album was released the next year and then reissued on limited edition cd & vinyl by Wagram 1998.

The next Dave Pike album was "Noisy Silence - Gentle Noise", released in 1969, as with many recording artists during the late 60's, The Dave Pike Set didn't escape the psychedelic influence of that era and as a result the band covered Frank Zappa's 'Mother People' and the Psychedelic Jazz sound of 'Mathar' was carefully crafted. The Dave Pike Set continued to record and entertain an avid European audience but their efforts went largely unnoticed in Pike's homeland of America. Pike showed his versatile nature again as a musician when, in 1972, he formed the "New" Dave Pike Set and recorded "Salomao" in Brazil. Pike later returned to the states during the mid 1970's and recorded several other albums of meagre success.

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Album Review

The Dave Pike Set: Live at the Philharmonie

Read "Live at the Philharmonie" reviewed by John Kelman

While vibraphonist Gary Burton has garnered greater acclaim, it's hard to listen to The Dave Pike Set's Live at the Philharmonie--originally released on MPS in 1970 and finally making it to CD--and not draw some comparisons.

At the time of this 1969 Berlin recording, both vibraphonists were working with similar line-ups, including guitarists conversant in the jazz vernacular but also exploring other avenues including rock, folk and Indian music. Americans both (Pike was living in Germany, ...

Album Review

Dave Pike: Peligroso

Read "Peligroso" reviewed by Jim Santella

Melody maker Dave Pike digs deeply into every one of his projects. Totally absorbed by the rhythms and searing passion, he moves from vibraphone to marimba and back, directing his mallets as if they were marionettes skipping through the park. Centered on his instantly-familiar melodies, this “dangerous” album places Pike at center stage with Latin jazz moods and overlapping hot bop circles being created all around him.

Emerging in the late 1950s on the Los Angeles jazz scene, Pike moved ...

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Backgrounder: Dave Pike - Bossa Nova Carnival

Backgrounder: Dave Pike - Bossa Nova Carnival

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Dave Pike is little known today but back in the early 1960s, he was a hip up-and-coming vibraphonist with enormous promise. He wasn't quite Gary Burton or Bobby Hutcherson, but he had a strong following and made great records. Pike had a cool, beat approach on the vibes and his playing taste was sophisticated and hip. Pike started recording with a quartet in 1956 called the Jazz Couriers. In 1958, he recorded Solemn Meditation with Paul Bley, Charlie Haden and ...



Jazz Musician of the Day: Dave Pike

Jazz Musician of the Day: Dave Pike

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Dave Pike's birthday today!


Dave Pike was born in Detroit, MI in 1938, he started off as a drummer and later learned marimba and vibraphone. Pike\'s family moved to Los Angeles in 1954, he played backing for artists such as Dexter Gordon, Harold Land, Carl Perkins... more

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Bossa Nova Carnival +...

Milestone Records


Live at the...

Promising Music/MPS


Manhatten Latin - The...

Milestone Records


Manhattan Latin - The...

Milestone Records



Milestone Records



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