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Johnny Lytle
People & Love (2024 Reissue)

Milestone Records

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$48.00 SGD
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Craft Recordings and Jazz Dispensary announce the first-ever vinyl reissue of JohnnyLytle’s long-sought-after soul-jazz gem, People & LoveFull of soaring, funky jams and heady grooves, the latest release in Jazz Dispensary’s acclaimed Top Shelf series showcases the legendary vibraphonist’s talents as a songwriter, musician, and bandleader, as he guides his fellow musicians through five sublime tracks, including extended, soulful covers (“People Make the World Go ’Round,” “Where Is the Love?”) and groovy originals (“Libra,” “Tawhid,” “Family”). The 1973 session also boasts a stellar line-up of players, including Daahoud Hadi (formerly Butch Cornell) on the electric piano and organ, Bob Cranshaw on the electric bass, and harpist Betty Glamann. 

Touted by the great bandleader Lionel Hampton as “The Greatest Vibes Player in the World,” Johnny Lytle (1932 – 1995) began his career as a drummer, playing with the likes of Ray Charles, Gene Ammons, and Jimmy Witherspoon before switching to the vibraphone in the mid-’50s. By the end of the decade, he was leading his own group and caught the ears of producer/record executive Orrin Keepnews, who promptly signed the dexterous musician. A consummate showman, whose fast-paced performances earned him the title of “Fast Hands,” Lytle built a significant following in the ’60s—recording for Keepnews’ Jazzland, Riverside, and Milestone imprints, among others.

For 1973’s People & Love (originally released on Milestone), Lytle found inspiration from two popular songs of the day: “People Make the World Go ’Round” (made famous a year earlier by Philadelphia soul stars, The Stylistics) and Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s 1972 smash hit, “Where Is the Love.” In addition to delivering inspired renditions of the two tracks, Lytle also borrowed from the songs’ titles to name his own album. Keepnews, who produced People & Love, wrote in the album’s original liner notes “‘People’ and ‘Love’ are also words that seem strongly descriptive of the kind of music Johnny Lytle has created here. Johnny has always been a notably soulful musician, whose playing has a high emotional content.” What made this particular album stand out in the vibraphonist’s prolific catalog, Keepnews added, was that Lytle was transitioning away from the “hard-driving [and] rhythmic” playing that he first became known for. “There has been a ‘new’ Lytle gradually emerging, and on this record that warmer and deeper attitude takes over,” the producer concludes.

Available on vinyl for the first time since its original release 50 years ago, the downtempo-funk extravaganza People & Love is a crate-digger's treasure chest, filled with soul-jazz grooves and mesmerizing vibraphone textures laid down by Johnny Lytle, who was touted as "the greatest vibes player in the world" by the big band legend Lionel Hampton. As with all titles in the album-centric Top Shelf series—which reissues the highest-quality, hand-picked rarities — People & Love features (AAA) lacquers cut from the original tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and is pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI. Rounding out the package is a tip-on jacket, replicating the album’s original art. — (via Jazz Dispensary)

Label: Milestone
Series: Jazz Dispensary Top Shelf Series
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Stereo, 180 gram
Country: US
Released: Mar 2024 / Original Release: 1973
Genre: Jazz, Funk / Soul
Style: Soul-Jazz, Jazz-Funk, Space-Age, Downtempo

File under: Soul Jazz / Jazz-Funk