Arthur Lyman

The Colorful Percussions of Arthur Lyman

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Although the album's generic title -- The Colorful Percussions of Arthur Lyman (1962) could have applied to most any entry in the artist's sizable discography, this particular dozen-song platter presents a mixed bag of material that displays his wide array of influences. Lyman (vibes/marimba/guitar) is accompanied by Alan Soares (piano/celeste), John Kramer (bass/bamboo flute), and Harold Chang (percussion). They collectively possess an intuitive musicality perfectly suited to an uncanny interpretive ability that adapts a broad spectrum of performance styles into Lyman's singular sounding brand of exotica. Their penchant for the dramatic is evident from the commencing flourishes of the theme to the motion picture epic "Exodus." The selection, which was Wagner-ian by nature already, is contrasted by a noir, almost regal intimacy within the verses. Considering Lyman and company's typically tropical surroundings and motifs, "I Talk to the Trees" from Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner's Broadway musical/comedy Paint Your Wagon is perfect fare for the straightforward interpretation heard here. Comparatively conventional is "Carabunta" with Kramer's ambient flute introduction wafting through Chang's evolving layers of mood-enhancing percussion. There are several other island-inspired melodies, including the appropriately languid "Blue Hawaii" and the mysterious and exploratory "Geisha Waltz." Among the best of the bunch are unquestionably Lyman and crew's arrangements of the traditional "Aloha No Honolulu," as well as the lovely, yet uncharacteristic acoustic guitar and flute on "Tangi Tika" and the upbeat folkie "Wreck of the John B." In fact the latter pair are quite distinct entries and unlike the vast majority of the artist's prolific back catalog. Also not to be missed for inclined parties is the boppin' take on Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers' "Moanin'." In 2008, Collectors' Choice Music gathered The Colorful Percussions of Arthur Lyman with the show tune-centric long-player On Broadway (1959) for a two-fer CD containing albums that had formerly been out of print and unavailable for the better part of a half-century.

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