Touted by the great bandleader Lionel Hampton as “The Greatest Vibes Player in the World,” Johnny Lytle (1932 – 1995) began his career as a drummer, playing with the likes of Ray Charles, Gene Ammons, and Jimmy Witherspoon before switching to the vibraphone in the mid-’50s. By the end of the decade, he was leading his own group and caught the ears of producer/record executive Orrin Keepnews, who promptly signed the dexterous musician. A consummate showman, whose fast-paced performances earned him the title of “Fast Hands,” Lytle built a significant following in the ’60s—recording for Keepnews’ Jazzland, Riverside, and Milestone imprints, among others.

For 1973’s People & Love (originally released on Milestone), Lytle found inspiration from two popular songs of the day: “People Make the World Go ’Round” (made famous a year earlier by Philadelphia soul stars, The Stylistics) and Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s 1972 smash hit, “Where Is the Love.” In addition to delivering inspired renditions of the two tracks, Lytle also borrowed from the songs’ titles to name his album.

Keepnews, who produced People & Love, wrote in the album’s original liner notes “‘People’ and ‘Love’ are also words that seem strongly descriptive of the kind of music Johnny Lytle has created here. Johnny has always been a notably soulful musician, whose playing has a high emotional content.” What made this particular album stand out in the vibraphonist’s prolific catalog, Keepnews added, was that Lytle was transitioning away from the “hard-driving [and] rhythmic” playing that he first became known for. “There has been a ‘new’ Lytle gradually emerging, and on this record that warmer and deeper attitude takes over,” the producer concludes.

Johnny Lytle – People & Love

Release Date:
March 29, 2024

Side A

Where Is The Love?

Side B

People Make The World Go ‘Round


Congas – Arthur Jenkins
Design [Album] – Ron Warwell
Drums – Jozell Carter
Electric Bass – Bob Cranshaw
Electric Piano, Organ – Daahoud Hadi
Engineer – Elvin Campbell
Harp – Betty Glamann
Percussion – Arthur Jenkins
Photography By – K. Abe*
Producer – Orrin Keepnews
Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Flute [Alto] – Marvin Cabell
Vibraphone – Johnny Lytle