Fast Hands is a great date from the revival years of Johnny Lytle – his stretch for Muse Records at the end of the 70s, and a bit of a return to his soul jazz roots of the 60s! The tracks here are a bit longer than before, but they've got a similar sort of energy – a nice rhythmic undercurrent that comes from the drums of Idris Muhammad and percussion of Larry Killian – and which is topped by Johnny's vibes and the tenor of Houston Person, plus some nice keyboards from Mickey Tucker. Titles include a reworking of Lytle's classic stepper "The Man", plus "Blues To Be There", "Sister Silver", "Bein Green", and "Tomorrow". Happy Ground is one of the few later Johnny Lytle LPs to maintain his classic vibes/organ/congas sound of his earlier years – in this case recorded with David Braham on organ and Sammy Figueroa on congas. As the title might imply, the LP features a remake of Lytle's classic "Happy Ground". Other highlights include a great version of Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower" and a moody take on "A Child Is Born". The LP also includes performances by Melvin Sparks and Houston Person, who give the set a nice soul jazz grounding! CD
An obscure session by John Patton, and a great one too! The set was recorded sometime between the end of Patton's successful run at Blue Note, and before he was rediscovered, and brought back out into the light by John Zorn and other younger players who appreciated his skill. The style of the album's great – in a mode that really recalls the farther-reaching organ work of Pattons' later Blue Note years, not exactly as modern as players like Larry Young, but clearly inspired by a freedom that was coming into use of the organ at the time. The group's an all-star one, too – with Grachan Moncur making a rare organ jazz appearance, Melvin Sparks on guitar, Grant Reed on tenor, and drummer Alvin Queen (who's label the set was recorded for), laying down some dexterous rhythms that remind us a bit of Hugh Walker's work on some of Patton's best Blue Notes. Includes a great reading of Dusko Goykovich's "Soul Connection", plus versions of Moncur's "Space Station" and "The Coaster". And oddly, this one turns up less than most of Pattons' albums from the 60s! CD
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