Cool Yule

What it is about

Christmas in the Caribbean - cool!

A pleasant ditty to cheer you up if you live in dark climes especially if you like good vibes.

How it was written

The original riff was written on a guitar way back in the 1970s and remained as a scratchy recording on a cassette for years until it was taken down from the shelf, dusted off, and polished into a little gem.


First two bars of Cool Yule (0:03)
Start of Cool Yule
Cool Yule start

The main melody is played by a vibraphone and the key riff, in triplets, starts the piece. The rest of the original chords were broken down and orchestrated between vibes, lead and bass guitars, and a trombone plays a solo.

Shake rattle and roll

Cool Yule percussion (0:07)
Cool Yule percussion
Cool Yule percussion

Bars 39-43 include a guiro, keeping the tempo, agogo and conga playing two different composite rhythms, and timbale adding extra oomph. Cabasa and bongos are also used in the piece along with a drum kit consisting of bass and snare drum, hihat, crash cymbals and the obligatory cowbell.

Meanwhile the melody vibraphone plays a cross-rhythm in triplets and the rest of the instruments do their own thing.

The latin percussion and the timbre of vibes attempt to evoke the image of hot sun and sandy beaches in a tropical climate.


Last two bars of Cool Yule (0:03)
End of Cool Yule
Cool Yule end

One way to end a song is to play the opening backwards. The melody notes in the first two bars are D#-E-A-B-A-F#-E. The melody vibraphone plays these notes in reverse order, E-F#-A-B-A-E-D#, keeping the original rhythm, and the harmony vibes play a contrasting counter melody.

Tech spec

Title: Cool Yule

Key: B

Tempo: 130bpm

Length: 3' 34"

Track 1: vibraphone melody

Track 2: vibraphone harmony

Track 3: trombone

Track 4: nylon guitar

Track 5: steel guitar

Track 6: picked bass

Track 7: acoustic bass

Track 8: drumset

Track 9: percussion

Genre: latin, pop, rock