Johnny Lytle – People & Love – Craft Recordings

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Jazz CD Reviews, SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

This is another great Craft Recordings/Jazz Dispensary vinyl release.

Johnny Lytle – People & Love – Milestone/Fantasy Records MSP 9043 (1973)/Craft Recordings CR00653 (2024) Jazz Dispensary Top Shelf Series 180-gram stereo vinyl, 36;49 ****1/2:

(Johnny Lytle – vibraphone; Marvin Cabell – flute, alto flute, tenor saxophone; Daahoud Hadi – electric piano, organ; Bob Cranshaw – electric bass; Jozell Carter – drums; Arthur Jenkins – congas, percussion; Betty Glamann – harp)

Craft Recordings has continued to partner with Jazz Dispensary reissuing classic soul/funk jazz from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. With updated analog technology, these albums were integral to game-changing labels like Prestige, Telarc, Vanguard, Concord Jazz, Stax and Riverside. One of the latest releases is Johnny Lytle – People & Love. Lytle, considered by many as one of the most influential vibraphonist, has focused on soulful grooves and studio atmospherics to develop this unique genre. Joining him are Marvin Cabell (flutes, tenor saxophone), Daahoud Hadi (electric piano, organ), Joel Carter (drums), Arthur Jenkins (percussion) and Betty Glamann (harp). This eclectic septet provides a compelling musical tapestry that manages to capture rhythm and melody. Side 1 opens with an instrumental version of the Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway soul hit, “Where Is The Love?”. With dreamy slow funk grooves, Lytle glides on lead with rapid-fire precision, as Cabell counters with ethereal flute accents. Then, he joins on a muscular tenor that ebbs with intensity. The ending of the song features open acoustics. An original composition, “Libra” glows with warmth as Lytle and Hadi (electric piano) combine on smooth grooves, with a relentless countenance. Lytle’s technical virtuosity is on display as he maintains the soul template, but with bursts of uninhibited runs. As Hadi and the rhythm section form a tight anchor, Cazbell’s tenor sways with finesse and fulsome sound.. Here, Lytle injects some unique sonic effects and the percussion is flawless. A mellow fade adds a nice touch. In a change of pace, “Family” (another Lytle composition) is arranged as a ballad. The septet explores a variety of textures on this album. On this track, Betty Glamann’s harp creates an entirely different texture. Lytle’s flexibility on vibraphone is bluesy and heartfelt. When the flute re-engages, there is  graceful and eloquent imagery that gives the jam emotional depth.

Side 2 kicks off with classic fusion motifs and rhythms on “Tawhid”. As Cranshaw and Jenkins play in lockstep, Lytle executes deft runs with percolating notation and chord changes. Hadi’s solo modulates and Cabell initiates a swing transition on tenor. Possibly the most ambitious track, “People Make The World Go ‘Round” is a jazzy near free-form cover of the Stylistics hit. The ensemble transforms the number into a complex multi-faceted musical statement. Lytle’s solos are mesmerizing and Cabell contributes gritty, near-shrill free jazz accents. This 11:57 opus showcases the adroit play of Cranshaw and Jenkins with syncopated flourishes (including harp) and ever-changing moods. The band excels in this environment.

Johnny LytlePeople & Love is another achievement for Craft Recordings. The original master tapes are balanced and dynamic (Kevin Gray/Cohearant Audio).The range of the vibraphone tonality (both sharp and mellow) is rendered with great detail. This vinyl pressing (RTI) is superior with little surface noise, and no hisses or pops.

Highly recommended!! 

–Robbie Gerson

Johnny Lytle – People & Love

Side 1: Where Is The Love?; Libra; Family
Side 2: Tawhid; People Make The World Go ‘Round.    

More information through Craft Recordings

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Album Cover for Johnny Lytle - People & Love, Vinyl

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