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 to New York and pioneered a hard bop trail with the vibraphone. Along the way he recorded Manhattan Latin for Decca in 1964 and linked up with Herbie Mann for more Latin jazz experiences. Milt Jackson and Cal Tjader became two of Pike’s closest influences. After living in Europe for 15 years, the vibraphonist moved back to Southern California in 1973. Then followed a period of working and playing in different areas before he settled once again in the Los Angeles area. When he works out of any of the local clubs, Pike lifts the audience with his enthusiasm and backs up the thought with a technical mastery of the instrument.
Peligroso offers romantic ballads as well as up-tempo fire. Pike’s vibes relate sustained overlapping tones, while the five-octave marimba serves up a more natural sound. Together, the two instruments allow the leader to interpret an assortment of moods. The range includes charanga, traditional Afro-Cuban chants, fiery dance music, hot percussion romps, and cool, romantic affairs. Pike is backed up by a Southern California who’s who all-star line-up. “Breakin’ It In” includes hot solo work from Mike Turre on baritone saxophone and Carl Saunders on trumpet. They’re followed by timbalero Bobby Matos, who stretches out over a mesmerizing montuno. Wayne Shorter’s “Beauty and the Beast” features trumpeter Saunders and pianist Theo Saunders (no relation) in a slow, hot cha cha cha arrangement. Highly recommended, Dave Pike’s latest Latin adventure finds the veteran vibraphonist - surrounded by all-stars - sharing his passion with lovers of the multicultural arts.
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