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The Best of Arthur Lyman

Arthur Lyman

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Album Review

Exotica fans might be outraged by such an assertion, but really to most listeners one Arthur Lyman album is about the same as another. And if you only get one Arthur Lyman album, you might as well get one with the hits (all three of them, two of which didn't reach the Top 40) and one that has a bit of a chronological span, right? The Very Best of Arthur Lyman fills that bill, including of course his sole big hit, "Yellow Bird," as well as "Love for Sale" and "Taboo," which both made around the middle of the Top 100. In all there are 18 tracks from his 1958-1965 HiFi albums, with his sleepy, vibes-suffused covers of a number of standards, among them "Havah Nagila," "Caravan," "Misirlou," Ravel's "Bolero," and the less expected "Blue Hawaii." There's also his own rendition of "Quiet Village" (birdcalls included), the song that was taken to the Top Five by his former boss, Martin Denny. Even with tracks that have been consciously selected as a best-of, in all it's an agreeable but rather similar-sounding set that establishes an unrelentingly drowsy mood. Things do perk up a bit occasionally, as on "Love for Sale," an easy listening instrumental you could actually dance to.


Born: 02 February 1932 in Kauai, HI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

As the vibraphonist for Martin Denny's group, Lyman was instrumental in crafting the sound of exotica. Lyman didn't stay with Denny for long, however, leaving the ensemble in 1957 to start a solo career that was nearly as successful as Denny's. To no one's surprise, Lyman's albums sounded very much like Denny's, with even more of a somnambulant feel. Much of the public wanted to relax, though, and they sent his debut, "Taboo," to number six in the album charts in 1958. In addition...
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The Best of Arthur Lyman, Arthur Lyman
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