Three under the tree, Vol. 4

Tonight, we pay a visit to the tropics for some Christmas instrumentals with a little different flavor. Three under the palm tree, if you will.

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“Winter Wonderland,” Arthur Lyman, from “With a Christmas Vibe,” 1959.

Call it exotica, or call it Hawaiian jazz, but Lyman is bringing the good vibes — literally and figuratively — on this classic album. Its original title in 1959 was “Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas),” and it was re-released on CD in 1996 to some warm reviews.

I’m older than dirt, but even I am not old enough to remember Lyman’s appearances on TV variety shows and on the old “Hawaiian Eye” detective show in the ’60s. (Quick! Who starred on “Hawaiian Eye?” Robert Conrad and the always swell Connie Stevens.)

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“Feliz Navidad,” Robert Greenidge, from “It’s Christmas, Mon!”, 1995. Good luck finding this CD. (It’s Intersound 3529).

Though Greenidge gets no cover billing, he’s playing the steel pan. If you’re a Jimmy Buffett fan, you know his work.

Greenidge, who’s from Trinidad, has been with the Coral Reefer Band since 1983. He and Coral Reefer keyboard player Michael Utley also play together as Club Trini, an instrumental group. Greenidge started out as a session player in the early ’70s, then spent six years with Taj Mahal.

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“O Come All Ye Faithful,” unknown artists, from “Christmas in the Caribbean,” 1996.

This is the familiar carol, also done on steel pan. It’s from a no-name, low-budget CD, but is charming nonetheless.

Enjoy. More to come.

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Filed under Christmas music, November 2007, Sounds

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