DAVID Lyttle – musician, producer, songwriter, and a household name in Irish jazz – will perform at the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival on May 3.
Lyttle, whose latest album Interlude was a mix of hiphop and soul which helped him acquire clout as an urban artist, will return to straight-up jazz for the gig, which will see him on drums, accompanied by pianist Jason Rebello and bassist Damien Evans.
Born in Waringstown, Lyttle grew up in a musical family, picking up his first drum kit aged four. As a teenager he decided he wanted to be a DJ, then got into jazz and, inspired by the likes of Art Blakey who provided percussion for Miles Davis among others, began concentrating on jazz drums, aiming for a style full of “soul, power and swing”. What made him first fall in love with jazz then?
“The instruments, the sound, the tone. I got into the genre when I was 18 and I just felt that I hadn’t heard anything like it before. Back then I was playing drums and performing with my family,
“I loved that so much of it was improvised, that it was all about what you did in the moment, rather than following a set rhythm. I loved the spontaneity of it. It’s about what you do on the night.”
The 28-year-old’s 2012 album Interlude, first heard on Radio One’s Introducing, was given the seal of approval by MOBO and the Daily Mail; it features what Lyttle describes as as an eclectic “hiphop-jazz-soul” sound and displays his incredible range of musical reference as well as his knack for songwriting, production and collaboration – guests including Mercury-nominated rapper Soweto Kinch, bassist Pino Palladino and pianist Jason Rebello feature here.
As director and founder of LYTE Records, Lyttle has released albums by some of Ireland’s key jazz musicians, such as Linley Hamilton. David joins Soul Rebels from New Orleans and the Neil Cowley Trio at the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival, May 2-6. Visit www.cityofderryjazz festival.com.