Vibraphonist Dave Pike's debut for Muse (which has been reissued on CD) has generally strong individual playing although the material (five group originals plus a brief version of the bop standard "Wee") and use of electronics sound a bit dated. Pike teams up with keyboardist Tom Ranier (who also plays some alto and tenor), guitarist Ron Eschete, either Luther Hughes or Harvey Newmark on bass, drummer Ted Hawke and (on three of the six numbers) guitarist Kenny Burrell. Nothing all that memorable occurs during this lesser effort.
These elements [i.e. a rather zany sense of homour and an oblique, Monk-like compositional sense, which often makes use of folk and popular elements in a highly original way] are in place again on Out Of The Tradition. Walrath opens "Out Of This World" with a strange North African scale and non-tempered sounds blown on a detached trumpet mouthpiece. There are hints of Coltrane's version in what follows, but they are used as stepping stones, not as a final destination. Walrath has located his playing outside the tradition and is constantly working towards points of departure. That is dramatized in Mingus's "So Long, Eric," on which Coryell and Green play a large part, and it comes across in the cod Bach of "Wake Up And Wash It Off," a pun too complicated to merit unpicking here. Walrath's now regular Pops feature comes on "Cabin In The Sky," one of his best recent performances, and he then drops back into gentler mode for "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." It's done no harm to doff the cap-and-bells for a while; this is a terrific jazz album.