Johnny Lytle was an educated musician. Aside from being a fluent reader and writer of music, he could play with the best of them. Here on Close Enough for Jazz the vibesmaster underscores his ability to exploit his instrument. On "Agapee/Polemos" he plays patiently through the calming mood of the song, and steps into each note with fervor as the song takes on a rapid pace. "Gwink" has an effervescent bounce and the Ohio native accents the lyric with every stroke of his mallets. Lytle features his son, Marcel "Butch" Lytle, on the vocal chorus of "Baby, You Make Me Feel so Good." With an R&B rhythm, the vibesman injects some jazzy melodies. Lytle gives a varnishing finish to this album with three classic pop standards: "Tenderly," "Embraceable You," and "At Last." The former Golden Gloves champ contrives his own inviting arrangement without maligning the beauty of each standard. More than anything else, Johnny Lytle was always true to his vibes. In other words, the passion he had for playing his music through his vibes was ever so present on each outing. This album is no different.
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