Personnel: Arthur Lyman (vibraphone, marimba, percussion, bird calls); Ethel Azama (vocals); John Kramer (guitar, ukulele, flute, clarinet, bass, percussion, bird calls); Alan Soares (guitar, piano, celeste, percussion); Chew Moon Chang (moon harp, Chinese bamboo flute); Paul Conrad (piano); Harold Chang (xylophone, percussion).
Producer: Richard Vaughn.
Reissue producer: Tape Dave Greenberg.
Includes liner notes by Sven "Tiki" Kirsten.
Soon after Tiki combo leader and pianist Martin Denny scored a smash hit with EXOTICA in 1957, his vibraphonist Arthur Lyman, who unlike Denny really was Hawaiian, struck out on his own to ply his wares in the newly lucrative exotica market. Again, unlike Denny, who had a stately and stodgy, even clumsy approach to this material, Lyman possessed a soft and fluent touch on his instrument, a facility reflected in his own combo. Plus, Lyman's virtuosity enabled him to sometimes improvise at something near full speed, close to the pace of a credible jazz player, though he wouldn't win any cutting contests with Milt Jackson. Or he could playfully fool around with themes like the "Colonel Bogey March." Still, the musical concept on TABOO is by no means original (Lyman even lifts Denny's trademark bird calls), but the finer execution makes for truer easy listening, perfect for romantic candlelit dinners under a Hawaiian moon or its approximation right here at home.