Vibist Dave Pike has hardly received the recognition he has long deserved. An uneven recording career has produced some discs now considered classics and even a minor “hit” or two. So it is a pleasant surprise that Pike may finally be hitting his stride, or at least finally getting his due exposure. A couple of years back Bophead reestablished his mastery of a repertoire of mostly standards; this year’s Carnavals (Milestone) is a reissue of two Latin-oriented gems from the early ’60s New Jazz vaults. And this disc offers an interesting contrast to the New Jazz sides: a generous glimpse of his current fluency in the Latin language-and fluent he is, flaunting a technique that is nonnegotiable. Pike is at the top of his form. And the mostly staccato character of his vibes and marimba is tailor-made for the music’s syncopated, often rolling melodic lines.
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