David Lyttle’s busy Lyte records venture has to be loudly commended for quality releases, including records by Dublin sax player Michael Buckley, veteran Derry saxophonist Gay McIntyre, and Dublin-based guitarist John Moriarty’s quietly mesmerising new guitar album, Echoes (also reviewed in these pages.)
Due shortly too is the second album from Dublin jazz-blues purveyor, guitarist and singer Nigel Mooney. Nigel was once a member of The Gripewater Blues Band of many moons ago - long enough ago, yep, to have supported BB King at the National Stadium, no less.
Now comes Lyttle’s own debut, which has a variety of stylistics tics, all built around a drum and bass framework. The opener This Moon of Ours is a rap tune with a double bass - always a sure-fire combination - featuring a certain gent called Homecut on vocals. By the time you reach Michael Buckley’s deliciously airy flute solo - which acts as a kind of coda - the whole thing has begun to pepper along nicely.
The easy jazz of Questions features the tender, distinctive tones of singer Rhea, and like all nine tracks on the record, it’s from the pen of the talented David Lyttle, who has called in co-writers on some numbers. Questions is instantly beguiling and, with its splodges of brass and deftly-accented rhythm, there are shades of Erykah Badu. Rhea is also heard on the jazz-rap creation, Uncertain Steps, along with rapper Soweto Kinch. (Don’t you love his name?)
Rhea also features on Lyttle’s I Don’t Mind which has been getting regular airplay on RTÉ lyric fm’s The Blue of the Night. It is indeed quite special, winsome and wistful, and sounds a little like Sade stripped back to basics.
Angel has more of that hand-clappy, busy percussion that's programmed throughout by Lyttle. It’s great to hear what is clearly a soft-day- thank God- Ulster accent on Wile Man’s rap vocals. The piece is gently intoned by Wile Man, as the backing trio of Rhea, Lyttle and Wile Man himself chant the word "Angel" in harmony.
Optimistic, the final track is really masterful in a jazz-rap genre. Once again it features Homecut on vocals, and there’s a rattlingly good piano solo. And thus, Interlude ascends to a triumphant conclusion. Do check out this marvellous album.