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Dave Pike – Vibraphonist – Born March 23, 1938!! –

Let’s Listen to “Mather” to Celebrate Dave Pike’s Birthday!!


On this date in 1938 jazz vibraphonist Dave Pike was born in Detroit, Michigan. He is best known for his association with Herbie Mann in the early 1960s. I discovered his music within the last few years and several of his albums are included in my music library.  I always wondered why I never really heard of this guy. The reason is that most of his American recordings were made in the 1960s and 70s and he went to Europe in the late 1960′ Here’s what I read at All About Jazz……

….Later in 1966 Pike recorded “The Doors of Perception” (taken from Aldous Huxley’s 1954 book of the same name), with Lee Konitz on saxophone though it was only released by Atlantic subsidiary label “Vortex” in 1970.

Pike left New York for Germany possibly because of Atlantic shelving “The Doors of Perception” and the attraction of European open-mindedness to the experimental music Pike was flirting with at that time. In 1968, Pike joined German Jazz label MPS and recruited Oscar Peterson, Jean-Luc Ponty and a guitarist named Volker Kriegel who played Indian ragas. Around this time Pike usually played vibes, Kriegel guitar, sitar and electric bass, J.A. Rettenbacher on bass, cello and electric bass, and Peter Baumeister on drums. This collective became known as The Dave Pike Set.

Pike went on to record four albums for th German jazz label MPS. Three were originals and one 1973’s Masterpieces was a compilation album. When Pike did return to the US he remained mostly on the West Coast where he recorded six more albums between 1975 and 2000.So with only six albums in 25 years and his location on the West Coast I can see why I missed him!

Today, I listened to two Dave Pike albums the first was Jazz for the Jet Set. I chose this album because of the review at AllMusic which said that the album was different in several ways. First Pike played the marimba instead of the vibraphone and then Herbie Hancock played organ throughout the album which was a rarity!! As I listened, I enjoyed the sound of the Marimba (hey, two Baja Marimba Band albums are in my vinyl collection!) I also enjoyed the trumpet! Three trumpeters were used on the album Melvin Lastie, Marty Sheller and Clark Terry. What probably caught my attention were the solos those of Clark Terry!! The first track “Blind Man, Blind Man” was a great track and Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” wasn’t bad either, actually the whole album was good. It certainly has a 60s music vibe but that’s not all bad!!

I also listened to the aforementioned The Doors of Perception. I found the first track pretty avant-garde and psychedelic but the rest of the album seemed pretty normal to me… You can read a full review of the album here at AllMusic

Pike’s career got a lift in the 1980s and 90s from the track “Mather” which was a hit with the Jazz-Funk of the 80s and the  funk and hip hop clubs of the 90s. From All About Jazz….

 The interest in Jazz-Funk during the 80’s (partly due to the sampling efforts of U.S. Hip Hop artists) led many djs and record collectors to delve deeper into the 60’s and 70’s music scene, the kudos associated with owning a rare record or groove by artists such as Pike created a new generation of vinyl hunters and Djs alike. Famous Acid Jazz DJ ‘Gilles Peterson’ later secured the release of ‘Mathar’ on Talkin Loud’s “Tales From The Black Forrest” in 1994 and a rare version by Paul Weller was also released (later to be reissued on 12” vinyl), Weller’s version was named ‘Indian Vibes’ which is what most people will incorrectly know Mathar as. A rare 12” white label boot leg of Mathar (on both sides) was also released around this time simply marked “Ind-A1” (a heavier bassline compared to the 69 album version), many other Dave Pike tracks have since been recorded or have featured on Acid Jazz compilations.Read More

So let’s wish Dave Pike a happy 76th birthday as we listen to “Mather” from his time with the Dave Pike Set!!

Links and Sources

All About Jazz – Dave Pike
AllMusic – Dave Pike