BLUE VIBES JOHNNY LYTLE Trio
Johnny Lytle (vib) Milton Harris (org) Albert Heath (drs) Recorded in New York; June 16, 1960
Blue Vibes (5:36) (Johnny Lytle)
Over The Rainbow (5:16) (Harburg-Arlen)
For Heaven’s Sake (4:35) (Meyer-Brelton)
Movin’ Nicely (4:57) (Milt Jackson)
Autumn Leaves (6:55) (Mercer-Kosmo-Prevert)
Mister Strudel (6:26) (Lytle-Schwartz)
Canadian Sunset (6:20) (Heywood-Gimbel)
About this NEW Jazzland Recording –
The swinging and exceedingly earthy sound of Blue Vibes, which gets this album under way, will undoubtedly be for most listeners their first exposure to JOHNNY LYTLE. But unless we are very badly mistaken, those first-time listeners will be hearing a lot more of this tough-looking and tough-playing young vibist from now on.
A young veteran of, for the most part, the Eastern club circuit, Johnny has steadily built for himself a loyal following among hard-to-please audiences. At such spots as (for example) the Club Baby Grand in Wilmington, Delaware, his group has been repeatedly brought back by (as the saying goes) popular demand. Now, with his first appearance on records, Lytle is making his bid for wider recognition, looking perhaps to justify Lionel Hampton’s enthusiastic comment, the first time he heard Johnny, that this is one of the greatest vibes players on the scene today.
It’s not too surprising that Hamp reacted that way, for there is a wealth of fire and swing in Lytle’s music that seems as likely to appeal to the insider as to just plain foot-tappers. There is also a considerable dose of what, these days, gets to be called “soul,” most notably in evidence on the two original Lytle blues tracks: the LPs title number and Mister Strudel. It is also an important element in his very personal, very funky Autumn Leaves (a version that points up once again just how exciting it is to hear a fresh approach to an apparently done-to-death standard).
The uncommon vibes-and-organ sound combination seems particularly well-suited to earthiness, but it turns out to fit every bit as well when Lytle is just pounding out a straightforward winger like milt Jackson’s Movin’ Nicely, or digging deeply into a rich ballad like For Heaven’s Sake. One simple exploration for this may be the tight working unit formed by Lytle and organist MILTON HARRIS. Long-time friends (both grew up in Springfield, Ohio), they have been working together since 1957, with Harris being responsible for many of their arrangements and routinings. For this album, the trio is filled out by one of the top young drummers in the East, ALBERT HEATH, currently a part of J. J. Johnson’s Sextet.
Johnny Lytle began as a drummer, in a family band organized by his trumpet-paying father. For a while he was undecided between music and boxing. He was a two-time Golden Gloves Midwest champion (amateur record: 56 wins, 3 losses) and briefly a pro (2 wins, 1 loss) – after which he wisely decided for music, concluding that “I can beat the vibes all week long and they won’t beat back.”
Recent JAZZLAND releases include:
The Fourth Herd – Woody Herman Orchestra, with Nat Adderley- JLP 17 & Stereo 917S
West Coast Blues – Harold Land, with Wes Montgomery – JLP 20 & Stereo 920S
Takin’ Care of Business – Charlie Rouse, with Blue Mitchell – JLP 19 & Stereo 919S
Blue Jubilee – Joe Alexander, with Bobby Timmons – JLP 23 & Stereo 923S
Chet Baker with 50 Italian Strings – JLP 21 & Stereo 921S
This album produced and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF
Photos by LAWRENCE N. SHUSTAK
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios
Recording Engineer: RAY FOWLER
JAZZLAND RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street, New York 36, New York