Johnny Lytle

New and Groovy

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Featuring selections like "Come and Get It," "Too Close for Comfort" and the hard boppin' "Selim," New and Groovy was appropriately titled. The soul of Lytle's vibes came with an ambience that's reflected in each one of these compositions, most of them written by the Ohioan. The vibesman's masterful articulation surfaces on the number he wrote in tribute to Miles Davis, "Selim" (Miles spelled backwards). Wynton Kelly, Davis' pianist during the trumpeter's bebop days, jams his way through the first several verses with his prudent key strokes before yielding to Lytle's swinging entrance. The song retains that zestful intensity throughout. With a fast-paced, gospel-seasoned rhythm backed by a hammering tambourine, Lytle masquerades his way through "The Pulpit" as his vibes personify a preacher delivering an uplifting sermon. Songs like "Screamin' Loud" earned Lytle the nickname "fast hands." In the vamp of the song, he wails away on two bars of the vibraphone. He admirably increases his hand speed to a rate where the sound is identical to that of a telephone ringing. Before settling into a jazzy, flowing groove, "Too Close for Comfort" begins with an intermittent intro and percussive backbeat; Lytle enunciates each note with fervor. This album remains one of the top jazz albums in Europe.