Arthur Lyman

Arthur Lyman

Arthur Lyman

Bwana A / Bahia

Collectors’ Choice Music

You’ll definitely want to mix up a pitcher of Mai Tais when you drop this double disc on the player. Arthur Lyman was one of the Exotica Trinity (along with Martin Denny and Les Baxter), and Collectors’ Choice has packaged two of his 14-album oeuvre on one Hi-Fidelity Compact Disc. Lyman learned to play when his father, blinded in a riveting accident in Hawaii during the depression, locked him in his room after school and forced him to listen to Benny Goodman records until he could play all of Lionel Hampton’s marimba solos. This must be true, I couldn’t make that up.

Listening to Bwana A / Bahia is like experiencing a 1960s Walt Disney version of the Amazonian rain forest. Exotic instruments like the güiro compete with marimba and electric organs and vibraphones, congas and bongos strive to complicate rhythms, and effects like rice on a drum head bring surf sounds into the mix. Occasionally snatches of familiar songs wash ashore — Schubert’s “Serenade” is in there, as is the “Colonel Bogey’s March,” but the main theme here is a mélange of Hawaiian, Oriental, Latin, and pure fantasy sounds. This is the real deal, and with the Tiki Revival that America has experienced over the past few years, you can’t do any better than popping this on as background while you drink your poi and pineapple smoothies.

Collectors’ Choice:

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