One of Dave Pike's finest accomplishments came in September 1962, when the vibist/marimba player recorded the Brazilian-oriented Bossa Nova Carnival for Prestige's New Jazz label. Thanks to the innovations of Stan Getz and João Gilberto, bossa nova was huge at the time and many musicians were jumping on the bossa bandwagon in the hope of making a quick buck. But for Pike, Bossa Nova Carnival wasn't an exercise in knee-jerk, insincere bandwagon jumping. Pike wanted to make a meaningful, individualistic contribution to Brazilian jazz. So instead of doing exactly what Getz, Gilberto, and Charlie Byrd were doing and performing a lot of Jobim songs, he enlisted Brazilian composer João Donato. Everything on this excellent vinyl LP was written by Donato, who provides sensuous, caressing melodies that Pike and his sidemen (who include Kenny Burrell on guitar and Clark Terry on flügelhorn) bring a lot of warmth and sensitivity to. The music swings, but it does so in a subtle, mellow, consistently melodic fashion. Undeniably one of Pike's most essential albums, Bossa Nova Carnival had been out of print for many years when, in 2000, Fantasy reissued it on Carnavals, a CD that also contains his Limbo Carnival session of December 1962.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson