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Yellow Bird

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Album Review

Arthur Lyman's enchanted vibraphone conjures exotic magic on this HiFi reissue. Yellow Bird leans more on the cornucopia of actual birdcalls that became Lyman's musical signature later on. Lyman delivers intoxicatingly rich music in the dense interplay of guiro (South American scraped gourd), maracas, and tambourine with the vibes in "Bamboo Taboo." Lyman's use of four-mallet vibes (a pair in each hand) and added instrumentation of guitar, ukulele, flute, glockenspiel, and others results in a mix that is unhindered by much mid- and low-range instrumentation. Thus soaring, Lyman provides aerial views of mysterious and beautiful oceanic utopias and dresses up such varied standards as "Havah Nagilah" and the American folk work song "John Henry" to percussive effect. Also here, Lyman switches to the wooden, vibrato-less marimba and adds bass and piano for an unusually deep dive in plumbing the depths of "Arrive Derci Roma."


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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Yellow Bird, Arthur Lyman
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