Arthur Lyman: Leis of Jazz

ArthurLyman_LeisOfJazzCocktail jazz with a Hawaiian flair on Lyman’s debut

After co-developing the exotica genre for Martin Denny’s original 1957 mono recording of Exotica, vibraphonist Arthur Lyman quickly founded his own combo. His debut as a bandleader came the same year with Leis of Jazz, kicking off a successful decade-long relationship with the Los Angeles HiFi label. Like Denny, Lyman built his catalog from a mix of island songs, world folk, jazz standards and Broadway tunes, but his arrangements often had a stronger jazz influence than Denny’s. The opening “The Lady is a Tramp” showcases Lyman’s superb vibraphone playing, as well as providing room for pianist Alan Soares, and Lyman’s rhythm section of John Kramer (bass) and Harold Chang (percussion) keeps the music moving with bouncy tempos and polite solos of their own. Like Denny’s combo, Lyman’s employed a variety of world percussion, but most often as accents that remain organic to the arrangements. The group’s later albums would adopt more of exotica’s kitschy elements, but on this first outing, the group plays as a superb supper-club jazz quartet. [©2015 Hyperbolium]

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