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Tell Me About Arthur Lyman
OnyaBirri
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 02, 2006
Posts: 419
Posted: 2008-01-11 2:56 pm   Permalink

I will agree with you about the sound on Arthur Lyman's records.

However, I think Denny is a much better pianist than the guy who played for Arthur Lyman. Denny had a much deeper harmonic vocabulary and better technique. When Lyman's pianist tries to play jazzy (like on "Leis of Jazz") he uses some pretty square chord voicings.


 
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OnyaBirri
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 02, 2006
Posts: 419
Posted: 2008-01-13 07:03 am   Permalink

I've always had a trashed stereo copy of "Taboo II" but recently found a very clean mono copy. Last night we gave it a spin while leafing through "Tiki Moderne." It has I think three tunes that Lyman originally did with Martin Denny on one of the first two albums. And, like a Martin Denny albums, it has one or two annoying novelty tunes. Overall, I thought it compared well to any of the better Martin Denny records. I'll be spinning some more soon to see if my assessment changes.

 
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Digitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2008-01-14 11:12 am   Permalink

Denny and Lyman's styles are actually quite different. It has been stated before here, but Denny was more "experimental" for lack of a better word and his tunes do have more jazzy harmonizing. Lyman's stuff is more dreamy and quiet (in general). Lyman and Gene Rains sound very similar in styles. My fave Lyman LPs are Bahia and Hawaiian Suset- GREAT!!!
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professahhummingflowah
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 11, 2005
Posts: 296
From: honolulu, hawaii & boston, ma
Posted: 2008-01-15 3:37 pm   Permalink

Watching the "Quiet Village" Youtube video that Tikiyaki posted brought back several childhood memories from watching Mr. Lyman at Waialae Country Club. (Thanks, Jim, for posting that!)

One of my favorite aspects of live musicians is the opportunity to hear them perform solo. (Of course, the solo medium works for some musicians but not others, and favors some instruments better than others. For example, vibraphone is arguably better as a solo instrument than double bass -- but of course it depends on the abilities and sensibilities of the musician playing).

I've only seen Mr. Lyman solo. He would do weekends at Waialae where he would play an entire evening by himself. His voicings... so lush. Like someone else said: the man's ability to emote through the vibes. Bird calls and animal yells, crystal clear, but never in the way of the music. By watching him, you can see exactly how exotica became so popular. Not through gimmicky pop covers, the exoticization of jazz standards. Neither solely through exotic percussion and hip Latin lounge beats, swanky cover art and tiki establishments, mugs and cocktaillogy. But through the personal care and individual expertise of highly trained musicians.

I think what we have to consider are,

What are specific aspects of Lyman's musicality that make us love his work?

In my opinion, there are at least three prominent aspects of his musicianship that I like:

  • Some of Lyman's signature sound comes from his choices in mode mixture, which is in common with classical and jazz musics, but also is prominently done in Hawaiian slack-key guitar.
  • The interplay of musical idioms from 'other' musics (i.e. Latin, Hawaiian), always in support of melody
  • An underlying hint of mysticism and wonder - never blatant or overpowering; arguably more introverted than that of his peers (Denny, Wechter, Colon, etc.)
  • Choices of musical works to perform.


My favorite piece that Lyman does is "Seabreeze." That seemed to be one of his favorites too, because you could count on it almost every time he came to play. Another is "Imi Au Ia Oe."

Sounds like a future post for my Exoticology 101 blog... Come on over in a day or so, I'll have something posted up.

-PHF
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