Sunday, May 6, 2007

Johnny Lytle - The Village Caller

Johnny Lytle - "The Village Caller"

I've always loved mallet instruments and am a huge sucker for almost any marimba/vibraphone/xylophone-powered song. I should listen to more jazz, but what I've heard of Gary Burton just bores me (maybe this wasn't the best place to start) and I don't know who else to check out besides Bobby Hutcherson. Naturally, I gravitated towards bands like Tortoise and Stereolab for my idiophonic fix, not to mention composers like Steve Reich, but probably at the expense of hearing a lot of great mallet jazz.

I first heard "The Village Caller" on my clock radio one morning when I was living in my old apartment. Unlike my current residence, I could actually get radio signals through my wall, so I had my alarm clock tuned to V103 (actually found on frequency 102.7, go figure). What I liked about V103 was that they actually played music in the mornings. They had some kind of a "morning show" and probably still do, but this one featured lots of music, which is still a novel idea in Chicago radio. V103 mostly plays R&B but on this morning, they slipped in "The Village Caller" just as I was waking up. Naturally, they didn't bother to identify it after it was finished, so I had to check their website to find out what song it was.

No long, repetitive passages here, just a short, sweet, and playful-sounding mellow tune. Is this a jazz standard? I really don't know. I once wanted a xylophone of my very own, but even a small one costs more than a nice electric guitar, and a musician-friend in college told me that I'd be better off if I learned some piano first. She probably had a point but unfortunately I don't think that's ever going to happen.

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