Dave Pike was never an innovator, but his best albums are definitely solid. A perfect example is 1961's It's Time for Dave Pike, which was recorded when the vibist was only 22. By 1961 standards, this album isn't experimental or forward-thinking -- certainly not compared to some of the adventurous, challenging sounds that were coming from modal and avant-garde improvisers in the early '60s. But it's easy to enjoy if you appreciate swinging, inspired bop along the lines of Milt Jackson, who is one of Pike's primary influences. In fact, this album favors the same vibes/piano/bass/drums format that Jackson embraced during his years with the Modern Jazz Quartet -- Pike is joined by pianist Barry Harris, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Billy Higgins. But It's Time for Dave Pike doesn't sound like an MJQ date and doesn't contain any third stream experiments; it has more in common with Jackson's work outside the MJQ. Hard bop is the name of the game on this album, which includes a few Pike originals as well as inspired versions of jazz standards like Miles Davis' "Solar," Charlie Parker's "Cheryl," and Tadd Dameron's "Hot House." The only time Pike doesn't lead a quartet on this album is when he tackles Rodgers & Hart's "Little Girl Blue" and performs an unaccompanied vibes solo. Produced by Orrin Keepnews for Riverside, It's Time for Dave Pike was out of print for many years. But that changed in 2001, when Fantasy finally reissued this pleasing album on CD on its Original Jazz Classics imprint.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson