Remember when I told you how I’ve been listening to Alika Lyman’s “Summer Me” on repeat? Well, now I have the finished version fresh off of Alika’s new CD featuring Pierre Grill on the Hammond B3 and a crisp, clean sound that makes this tune even more of a classic than it already is.
Do you recall how Alika threw a CD release party at The Dragon Upstairs? During the band’s second set, Alika prepped his group for another song and, turning to me, said: this one’s for you. Not so much with his lips but with his eyes, that’s how he said it, knowing I’ve been a fan of “Summer Me” since he first sent me a link on Facebook back in November.
It’s an intoxicating tune, especially if you’ve grown up in Hawaii and lived in the Pacific Northwest for a number of years, as both Alika and I have. Gray weather can do many things to do. Like starting a Hawaiian music blog on a whim one night after hearing a mixtape by a Japanese DJ.
But mostly, it makes you sing the blues for warmth and sunshine. Just listen:
Halfway through the song, while I’m swaying to the sweet sounds, my friend leans over and says, “Wow… This is what dreams are made of.”
Indeed, in that moment, I couldn’t have said it any other way.
Alika Lyman Group at The Dragon Upstairs
The Alika Lyman Group is a trio of talented musicians: Alika, Jeffrey James (drums) and Ricardo Diaz (bass). Throughout the night, the band finessed through straight jazz, light funk, ballads, and a surprising take on Duke Ellington’s “Caravan”—transporting us exactly where you’d expect to be, in a Middle Eastern desert navigating our way to the next town by camel and cool jazz.
It was so good that my friend started dancing in the now-empty seating area (it was 1am, a handful of people had left by then). Alika’s got groove. I gotta saw, it’d be cool to see his band do an all-funk set sometime.
The Dragon Upstairs provided an intimate setting for a room full of Alika’s longtime friends. I haven’t seen a lot of these people in nearly seven years (we all went to the same high school on Oahu). I can’t wait to return for another night of great music.
Alika, when’s your next show at Dragon?
Buy their CD, it’s only $5
Go ahead and download the full 7-track album on Bandcamp for just five dollars.
And just in case you’re wondering if I have another favorite track besides “Summer Me”, dig this jazz cover of Kalapana’s “Moon And Stars”:
Read Alika’s interview on Aloha Got Soul
You could say that Alika’s music career is what dreams are made of. He started out at the opposite end of jazz music during high school. During our interview, we talked about John Coltrane, heavy metal, and exotica jazz artist Arthur Lyman. Enjoy.