"Cet enregistrement de 1964 du maître du vibraphone propose le meilleur de deux mondes : de l'improvisation jazz de première catégorie, et des rythmes afro-cubains irrésistibles. Pour le soutenir, des All Stars tels que Chick Corea, Hubert Laws, Attila Zoller et Willie Bobo." Voici entre autre ce qu'on trouve sur le net francophone à propos de ce disque de Dave Pike à l'écoute duquel je reste plus que sceptique. Je l'ai cherché comme le holy grail du latin jazz et la déception a été à la hauteur de la quête. Je me permets donc de poster la critique américaine de All about jazz qui résume parfaitement mon point de vue. A vous de juger, en écoute la face A.
Dave Pike (vibraphone) avec Dave Burns (trompette), Ray Copeland (bugle), Hubert Laws (saxophones piccolo et ténor), Joseph Grimaldi (flûte), Chick Corea, Don Friedman (piano), Attila Zoller (guitare), Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Jack Six (contrebasse), Carlos "Patato" Valdes (conga), Robert Thomas (percussion), Willie Bobo (batterie)
01. Baby (Pike–Pike) 2:46
02. Que Mal es Querer (Rodriguez) 3:15
03. Not a Tear (Stevenson) 3:58
04. Mambo Dinero (Pike) 2:36
05. Montuno Orita (Pike) 3:20
06. Aphrodite (Thomas) 3:13
Back in the sixties there was a vibraphone player who sold lots of records by combining his musical chops with his interest in Latin music and thus became one of the earliest exponents for Latin jazz. However, that man was Cal Tjader, not Dave Pike, and despite similar aspirations, the latter never achieved the recognition of the former.
Part of the problem was that Pike entered the scene once the market was already saturated with Latin-themed releases (as well as album covers with alluring women), but now it's possible to look back on his work with a little more perspective. Manhattan Latin starts and ends with a few tunes that evoke the music of Spanish Harlem and feature the same strong percussion, mariachi riffs, and chirping-bird reeds that grace many other similar releases. Each song also has some hard-hitting soloing from Pike and the brass section, but these tunes are so faithful they become insignificant; whatever may already be in your collection, chances are you have something like it.
However, the last part of the first side and the first part of the second side are quite good once Pike gives his sidemen more to do. Chick Corea contributes a strong tune with “La Playa” that provokes forceful soloing from the group. But in the best unit, which features no horns at all, Dave Freidman and Atilla Zoller (who went on to record some oddball music of their own) fire up some terrific soloing on some more widely textured tunes like “Aphrodite”. In particular with the horn-less ensemble, the group seems to understand that the goal of this type of endeavor should be inspiration, not re-creation. Too bad Pike didn't quite get there.