‘Faces’ – David Lyttle

Faces

BOOKENDED by nonchalant sax improvisation from jazz luminary Joe Lovano, the rapped words declare, “Worth your while to take a second listen to” – and it’s a pleasure to concur. Once in a while, a new, unexpected sound world grabs us by the ears and refuses to let go – something leftfield, eclectic and brimming with honest, heartwarming creativity. David Lyttle’s Faces is such an album.

Lyttle has a creditable biography. From his early beginnings in County Armagh as a young drummer with his parents’ Celtic family folk band – The Lyttle Family – he took up scholarships in the USA and Canada, as well as studying for both BMus and PhD in Ulster, achieving a Doctorate in Music. Since then, his seemingly boundless energy has found him performing, launching his own recording label and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Greg Osby, Soweto Kinch, Jason Rebello, Jean Toussaint, Andreas Varady, Pino Palladino……

Any attempt to categorise the Irishman’s musical ingenuity is tricky, as he confidently skips across an array of genres, creating a melange of fresh, attractive new sounds – and such incisive blending is the key to the success of this third solo outing. Inviting musical friends and family to his album personnel… well, in lesser hands, it could have all gone horribly wrong – but there’s an incredible sagacity to Lyttle’s ten tracks of pop, jazz, soul, folk, rap and hip-hop which become both enchanting and irresistible.

The adventure is there to be discovered – but here’s a flavour…  announced by romantic cello solo, jaunty retro pop/rap The Second Line grooves to Lyttle’s amiable vocals, soulful keys and perky snare. Like many of the compositions, Houdini bubbles with on-the-tip-of-the-tongue influences, here suggesting Jeff Lynne, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Keane and even a tinge of Alan Price’s (Simon Smith’s) ‘Dancing Bear’ – fascinating! A stand-out is the slow, gospel warmth of Seek, featuring the assured vocals of Anne Lyttle (David’s Mum) sustained by John Leighton’s evocative Hammond and pianist Jason Rebello’s perfect, crystalline sensitivity.

Rhea Lyttle (David’s sister) brings radio-friendly disco-pop to two numbers – Detour (including a sprinkling of Jean Toussaint’s soprano sax) and Game Boy, a Buggles-like teenage tale with rapping from Zane, coloured by Michael Buckley’s floral flute. Title track Faces is announced with mischievous “HAhaHAhaha”s from Cleveland Watkiss, whose characterful three-minute vocal/scat groove is a joy; and soft rap Lullaby For The Lost eases out to David Lyttle’s silky Fender Rhodes. Natalie Oliveri exchanges smooth soul voicings with rapper Homecut in To Be Free; and with the last word, Anne Lyttle presents homey, rocking-chair epilogue Perception to Meilana Gillard’s intimately-fashioned woodwinds.

Released on 23 February 2015, and already creating positive vibes across radio airwaves, Faces is available from Lyte Records. ‘Ready with that ‘repeat album’ setting?

 

David Lyttle drums, percussion, keyboards, cello, lead vocals
Keith Duffy bass, guitar
Duke Special lead vocals
Anne Lyttle lead vocals
Rhea Lyttle lead vocals
Cleveland Watkiss lead vocals
Natalie Oliveri lead vocals
Talib Kweli rap
Illspokinn rap
Homecut rap
Zane rap
Jason Rebello piano
John Leighton organ
Tom Harrison sax
Jean Toussaint sax
Joe Lovano sax
Michael Buckley flute
Meilana Gillard woodwinds
Jan Hutchinson violin
Eoin Walsh guitar

davidlyttle.com

Lyte Records (2015)

‘Nine Tales of the Pendulum’ – Mick Coady’s Synergy featuring David Binney

Pendulum

INITIALLY LAUNCHED towards the end of 2012, this excellent album from Mick Coady’s Synergy is now being re-released, this time in conjunction with a short UK tour, and then into Holland.

Coady assembles a great quintet to unlock the potential of these nine originals, and the players interact very much as a cohesive ensemble throughout – venturesome soloing, yet always an ear for overall colour and balance. The Irishman is a familiar presence on the London jazz circuit (bassist for Pete King and a host of visiting artists, as well as a founder member of the Loop Collective) – but here, for his first album, he reveals his prowess in creating intoxicating compositions (seven of the nine) for the estimable company of David Binney (alto), Michael Buckley (tenor), Ivo Neame (piano) and Sean Carpio (drums).

There is immediacy, solidity and verve to proceedings, typified by the driving pace of opening number, ‘Autumn’, Binney making his mark with unwavering, increasing vigour, the band matching him all the way; and Buckley offering only brief tenor respite in this magnetic, bubbling start. The anarchic saxophones of ‘Enemies of Order’ duel it out over Carpio’s exuberant rhythm before Neame and Coady enter the fray with their suitably brisk piano and bass display. The space of David Binney’s pegged-back ‘Real Ballad’ is delectable, alto and tenor fusing beautifully over the intertwining sonorous bass and searching piano improvisation – and such beguiling, sublime tenor soloing from Buckley.

‘Naturally Liberating Molecules’ communicates the band members’ empathy with each other; Carpio, Coady and Neame set up a mesmerising rhythm of intent which is the perfect vehicle for Binney and Buckley to accept the organic freedom the title suggests – hard-edged, growling and wailing tenor making this highlight bristle with excitement! Mick Coady takes the opportunity, in ’64 Claudio Coello’, to enhance mellifluous, combined sax lines before demonstrating his own instrumental lyricism. And from the pen of Ivo Neame comes the resolute ‘Unseen Coracle’ (from Neame’s current octet album, ‘Yatra’), his skilful writing and soloing illustrating why he is one of British jazz’s brightest and most versatile pianist/composers.

Further into the album, the 12-minute ‘Abyss’ is a darker affair, slow-burning, affording the quintet an expanse in which to breathe and explore ideas. ‘Beginning’ is strong on melodies, Buckley and Neame taking the lead assuredly, Coady and Carpio maintaining its strong impetus; and, finally, the enticing swing of ‘Skimpy’ provides an entertainingly lively play-out, refusing to adhere to the suggestion of its meagre title!

‘Nine Tales of the Pendulum’ (released 1 October 2013) deserves to be listened to closely and repeatedly – turn it up loud and you’re right there with them!


ALBUM PERSONNEL

Mick Coady Bass
David Binney Alto Saxophone
Michael Buckley Tenor Saxophone
Ivo Neame Piano
Sean Carpio Drums

LIVE PERSONNEL & DATES

Mick Coady Bass
David Binney Alto Saxophone
Julian Arguelles Tenor Saxophone
Ivo Neame Piano
James Maddren Drums

11 October 2013: Symphony Hall, Birmingham
13 October 2013: Marsden Jazz Festival
15 October 2013: Con Cellar Bar, London
17 October 2013: Band On The Wall, Manchester
18 October 2013: Denhaag, Holland

http://www.jellymouldjazz.net/releases/nine-tales-of-the-pendulum/

Jellymould Jazz – JM-JJ008 (2012/13)