Johnny Lytle

The Loop

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This is one of Johnny Lytle's more prized recordings, featuring a slew of classic compositions. The title track is a peppy, pop-flavored number that has a relaxing feel about it. Lytle displays his ability to pick and choose the notes which allows a song to blossom, like he does on the standard "The More I See You." Wynton Kelly, Miles Davis' former pianist, complements Lytle's every eloquent execution of the vibes, and percussionist Willie Rodriguez maintains that Cuban rhythm with his congas. In 1966, when this album was released, "The Man" was the featured release; with its street texture, this song is ideal for the likes of a James Bond flick. The constant cadence of this number is augmented by Lytle's masterful manipulation of his mallets tapping on the vibraphone. The vibes virtuoso comes back on the midtempo "Time After Time" and exudes a tender melody on this heart-warming number. And he cooks up a suspenseful, simmering interpretation of "Cristo Redentor" utilizing the less vibrating sound of the marimba. Kelly's fluency of the piano is heard on all the tracks except for the "The Loop," "Possum Grease," and "Hot Sauce." Milt Harris' aggressive, yet meticulous organ playing maintains a soul-stirring rhythm in between his chord changes, and Rodriguez's congas accent each track with a Latin-flavored beat. For mellow, moderate, or uptempo numbers, this is one groovin' album in the vein of hard bop.

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