Johnny Lytle Trios: Got That Feeling/Moon Child (1963)
Back in the early sixties a group consisting of Larry Young, Bobby Hutcherson, and Grant Green recorded a series of outstanding sessions that both extended the vocabulary and enriched the possibilities of the jazz organ combo. Part of this was the unusual addition of vibes in a spot normally occupied by a sax, but to a large degree Young, Green, and Hutcherson worked their magic on a selection of tunes that strayed far from the gospel and blues tinged themes that were the calling card of soul jazz. Jimmy Lytle too seems determined not to fall into a typical soul jazz pattern, but his group's efforts are problematic; neither he nor Harris has the chops to keep up on either of the two sessions featured here. Both consist of a variety of minor themed originals, some of which (to be fair) are indeed catchy or unique, and a batch of standards, some well chosen ("It Ain't Necessarily So") some on shaky ground ("A Taste Of Honey"). Part of the problem here is that the vibes aren't particularly expressive to begin with; thus a huge burden lays on the shoulders of Harris, who never raises the temperature enough to generate any heat. Bassists Hinton and Cooper are left largely inaudible. Thus the whole CD never seems to find it's footing; good tunes like "Got That Feeling!" are followed by "Pow Wow", which features the tom-tom pattern cliché that had worn out its welcome. Many of the songs here are enjoyable enough, although not particularly memorable; too often the group sounds like it's on autopilot, Harris in particular seeming to draw from a pile of stock riffs. The curious or zealous will find something of value in Lytle's efforts; most will want to stick with Grant Green's "Street Of Dreams" for this type of sound.
Track Listing: Got That Feeling!, Pow Wow, In The Wee Small Hours Of the Morning, Big John Grady, The Breeze and I, It Ain't Necessarily So, Lela, Love Is Here To Stay, The Soulful One, Moon Child, Work Song, The Nearness Of You, The Moor Man, A Taste Of Honey, When My Dreamboat Comes Home, Moonlight In Vermont, The House Of Winchester.
Personnel: Johnny Lytle, vibes; Milt Harris, organ; Peppy Hinnant, drums; Milt Hinton, Steve Cooper, bass; Ray Barretto, conga.
Record Label: Fantasy Jazz