Dave Pike isn't one of jazz's more famous vibists -- he never became as well known as Milt Jackson, Lionel Hampton, Cal Tjader, Bobby Hutcherson, or Roy Ayers. Nonetheless, Pike is a talented, flexible player who has provided some memorable albums here and there. Two of them are Bossa Nova Carnival and Limbo Carnival, both of which were recorded in 1962 for New Jazz. In 2000, Fantasy reissued the albums back to back on the Prestige CD Carnavals. The sessions are equally appealing but quite different -- while Bossa Nova Carnival is a caressing, sensuous collection of songs by Brazilian composer João Donato, the grittier Limbo Carnival has more of a Caribbean orientation. Afro-Cuban salsa is an influence on Limbo Carnival, but calypso is an even greater influence -- and Pike, taking a hint from Sonny Rollins, combines jazz with calypso on Rollins' "St. Thomas" and Charlie Parker's "My Little Suede Shoes," as well as two songs that were hits for Harry Belafonte: "Matilda" and "Jamaica Farewell." On both dates, the vibist (who plays the marimba as a second instrument) is joined by some heavyweights -- Bossa Nova Carnival features, among others, Clark Terry on flugelhorn and Kenny Burrell on guitar, while pianist Tommy Flanagan, guitarist Jimmy Raney, and percussionist Ray Barretto are among the sidemen on Limbo Carnival. If you only have a few Pike CDs in your collection, Carnavals should definitely be among them.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson