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Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | Impulse!

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
McCoy Tyner's fourth studio album has a split personality, with three tracks featuring an intriguing sextet of all-stars, and the rest with his trusty trio, done eight months apart. Perhaps the tracks with bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Albert Heath were leftovers from a prior incomplete or aborted full session, but anything Tyner played in this period was precious. The larger ensemble recordings present trumpeter Thad Jones as ostensible co-leader, composer of one selection, and lead soloist. Tenor saxophonist John Gilmore and alto saxophonist Frank Strozier join forces with Thad Jones to make what some might deem an unlikely front-line triad, but effective enough considering their established individualism. Bassist Butch Warren and drummer Elvin Jones support the six-piece band, the first and only appearance for Warren with Tyner while the pianist was still with John Coltrane. The jewel in this collection is Tyner's "Three Flowers," a keeper that his big bands played prolifically later in life. Here the sextet hits the modal 3/4 beat with a thinner harmony under the lithe, soaring, enduring, and beautiful melody line. The Thad Jones contribution "T 'N A Blues" is an easy, basic, and short 12-bar chart with a phenomenal solo from Gilmore, while "Contemporary Focus" is a down-the-Nile signature sound for the controlled modal power Tyner wields, with Thad Jones belting out his bopping solo. The trio tracks are standards done with hints of other songs to begin with. Tyner fools you into thinking he's taking off on "Impressions" when it's actually "A Night in Tunisia"; "Autumn Leaves" has an improvised modal starting point that is quite spontaneous; and the chiming, wanton ballad "When Sunny Gets Blue" drips with all the pure emotion that Tyner can wring out of a weepy piano. The musicianship is so strong that it's hard to deny the high quality of what is presented here. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2012 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This is a particularly well-rounded McCoy Tyner solo set. The masterful pianist performs four Coltrane tunes (including "After The Rain" and two versions of "Crescent"), five of his own originals (highlighted by "Tribute To Lady Day" and "Effendi"), Bud Powell's classic "Bouncin' With Bud," Dexter Gordon's "Tivoli" and three veteran standards. McCoy Tyner always sounds in prime form and these diverse songs bring out the best in his passionate style. Highly recommended. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released December 1, 1969 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1963 | Impulse!

Pianist McCoy Tyner's second set as a leader has as of 1996 not been reissued on CD. Featured in a trio with bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Roy Haynes, Tyner performs two of his originals ("Reaching Fourth" and "Blues Back") plus three standards and "Theme For Ernie." One of the two most original and influential pianists to fully emerge in the 1960s (along with Bill Evans), McCoy Tyner's unique chord voicings and ease at playing creatively over vamps pushed the evolution of jazz piano forward quite a bit. This outing, although not as intense as his work with the John Coltrane Quartet, is generally memorable and still sounds quite viable 35 years later. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1990 | Milestone

This is one of the great McCoy Tyner recordings. The powerful, percussive, and highly influential pianist sounds quite inspired throughout his appearance at the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival. Azar Lawrence (on tenor and soprano) is also quite noteworthy and there is plenty of interplay with bassist Juney Booth and drummer Alphonse Mouzon. But Tyner is the main star, whether it be on his three-part "Enlightenment Suite," "Presence," "Nebula," or the 25-minute "Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit." © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1968 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Blue Note Records

Two and a half years after his last recording as a leader for Impulse, pianist McCoy Tyner emerged to start a period on Blue Note that would result in seven albums. Having left John Coltrane's Quartet in late 1965, Tyner was entering a period of struggle, although artistically his playing grew quite a bit in the late '60s. For this release, the pianist is teamed with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Elvin Jones for five of his originals. Highlights of the easily recommended album include "Passion Dance," "Four by Five," and "Blues on the Corner." © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Impulse!

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Jazz - Released August 1, 1989 | Blue Note Records

For this Blue Note project, pianist McCoy Tyner is heard solo on eight numbers and also has two duets with tenor-saxophonist George Adams and three with guitarist John Scofield; Tyner dominates throughout. A standards-oriented set (there are only four songs by the leader including "Blues On The Corner" and the near-standard "Song For My Lady") but the pianist makes every melody sound like a fresh original through his distinctive chord voicings and harmonies. This is a strong effort by one of the best. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Blue Note Records

On this excellent set, McCoy Tyner had the opportunity for the first time to head a larger group. His nonet is an all-star aggregation comprised of trumpeter Lee Morgan, trombonist Julian Priester, altoist James Spaulding, Bennie Maupin on tenor, Bob Northern on French horn, Howard Johnson on tuba, bassist Herbie Lewis, and drummer Joe Chambers in addition to the pianist/leader. Tyner debuted six of his originals, and although none became standards (perhaps the best known are "The High Priest" and "All My Yesterdays"), the music is quite colorful and advanced for the period. Well worth investigating. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Telarc

No longer trying to push the envelope of innovation, Tyner settles down with a pair of experts and carves out a very nice, fairly orthodox piano trio album. This is Tyner reaffirming most of his strengths: the massive tone quality, the two-handed control over the entire keyboard, and the generally uplifting attitude conveyed through the shape of his melodic invention. He does so in a program of six originals, three standards, and one tune by Stanley Clarke, mixing modal tunes, blues, funk, ballads, and a mildly Caribbean ringer. Only once does he evoke memories of the classic John Coltrane Quartet -- not in "Trane-Like" but in "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes." Clarke takes a break from the film studios and turns in one of his rare sessions on acoustic double bass, producing solid, faultless, relatively conventional support. He doesn't leave the electric bass entirely at home, however; his funky side bumps through one of the two versions of "I Want to Tell You 'Bout That," and he exercises low-key, electric subtleties on his "In the Tradition Of" and "Caribe." Foster throws himself skillfully into every situation; he is at ease in all idioms. The sound is excellent, with each instrument, even Tyner's formidable piano, in perfect balance. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1972 | Milestone

After the death of John Coltrane, his longtime pianist McCoy Tyner was in something of a musical quandary. Keeping up with his mentor through the incredible explorations of the early '60s, he seemed to have some difficulty navigating the even further out territories explored in the two or three years before Coltrane's death in 1967. His subsequent albums as a leader were solid, enjoyable efforts but seemed oddly retrograde, as though he needed time to settle back and re-digest the information handed down to him. With Sahara, Tyner found the precise perfect "middle ground" on which to stand, more structured than late Coltrane, but exploding with a ferocity and freedom of sound that made it simply one of the greatest jazz recordings of the decade. None of the other members of his quartet ever sounded so inspired, so liberated as they do here. Sonny Fortune threatens to tear the roof off the joint on more than one occasion, Calvin Hill is more than rock-solid on bass, his roots arcing deeply into the earth, and as for Alphonse Mouzon, well, no one familiar with his later vapid meanderings in fusion would begin to recognize him here, so incendiary is his playing. And Tyner develops so much pure energy, channeled with such pinpoint precision, that one worries about the physical stability of any piano under such an assault. From the extraordinarily intense "Ebony Queen" through the ruminative solo "A Prayer for My Family, the equally intense "Rebirth," and the concluding, side-long title track, there's not a misstep to be heard. "Sahara," over the course of its 23 minutes, covers vast ground, echoing the majesty and misery of the geographical area with percussion and flute interludes to some of Tyner's very best playing on record. Even something that could have resulted in a mere exercise in exotica, his koto performance on "Valley of Life," exudes both charm and commitment to the form. Tyner would go on to create several fine albums in the mid-'70s, but never again would he scale quite these heights. Sahara is an astonishingly good record and belongs in every jazz fan's collection. © Brian Olewnick /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Impulse!

Wow, here's a first (or so it seems) -- a tribute to sax legend John Coltrane that doesn't include his arrangement of "My Favorite Things." Working with his trio featuring bassist George Mraz and drummer Al Foster at New York's Village Vanguard, the pianist instead chose a mix of well-known Coltrane gems like "Naima" (which begins cool and moody, and then heats up into a booming, improvisational jam and -- dare it be said when talking about traditional jazz? -- funk explosion) and "Afro Blue (in a strolling, slightly melancholy take with Tyner gliding over Foster's swift brushes). "Moment's Notice" is wacky and wild from the start, a primer on the power of freeform and swing; Tyner's improv ability has never been more intensely realized. After that, the 12 minutes of the mid-tempo "Crescent" come as a slight letdown despite some booming low-register chord pounding and an increasingly throbbing bassline. "After the Rain" is a somber interlude, while Billy Eckstine's "I Want to Talk About You" is like a cheerful ray of dancing sunlight after the gloom is gone. Like many great live jazz dates these days, the music was recorded direct to two-track analog tape, with no mixing or editing. The show on September 23, 1997, was to celebrate Coltrane's 71st birthday, and this recording brings listeners so joyfully close that they can almost blow out the candles themselves. © Jonathan Widran /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 1, 1994 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

The pairing of pianist McCoy Tyner and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson had them teamed up with firebrands of modern jazz in the '60s, but some 20 years later they made this recording in duet performance with their minds focused on the mellow side. That's not to say their progressive ideas are completely harnessed, but this recording is something lovers of dinner music or late-night romantic trysts will equally appreciate. They play a mix of standards and originals with the genius inventiveness and spontaneous interplay you would expect, while also elongating beautiful melodies that will warm any cold or bitterly emotional situation. Where Tyner's single-minded witty and improvisational extrapolations are always a part of his musical persona, Hutcherson varies the sonic imprint, playing the noble wooden marimba on several tracks, lending a more earthy, organic feeling. There's magic in the air, or at the very least a common ground of shared values that makes this combination of two great musicians turn everything golden. A take on Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk" is a shining example of how to make a well-worn standard all your own, as the pianist imbues a pure Kansas City blues flavor into the tune, and Hutcherson's marimba leads it carefully into new, woodsy territory. Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes" is interpreted as faithfully and profoundly as the original, but with new voicings sans a rhythm section, taking the adoring melody into deeper fathoms. Tyner's signature chord accents during "Dearly Beloved" echo the splendid title as tacked onto Hutcherson's shimmering vibes, while the pianist's penchant for modal foundations is clearly exuded on his partner's relaxed marimba-coded original "Isn't This My Sound Around Me?" and the definitive, dependable Tyner staple "Travelin' Blues." "Manhattan Moods," penned by the pianist, is solemn as can be, considering that it is dedicated to the rat race borough of New York City, while Hutcherson's other composition on the date, "Rosie," is as pleasant a waltz as you will hear short of what Randy Weston might do. These groundbreaking musicians are not rotating the Earth or signaling any new directions with this effort. They are completely in touch with their own hearts and souls, as well as those of humankind in general, on this exquisite and gorgeously crafted set of pure unadulterated jazz. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Impulse!

Live at Newport was the first live recording McCoy Tyner led, and it happened to be among his most memorable dates for Impulse, but like many memorable sessions, it was the end result of equal parts planning, spontaneity, and talent. According to Willis Conover's original liner notes, Tyner was worn out from playing Montreal the night before, and he was paired with three musicians he'd never played with before (trumpeter Clark Terry, alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano, and bassist Bob Cranshaw), two of who were using borrowed instruments. Given such chaotic circumstances, it's not surprising that the quintet (also featuring drummer Mickey Roker, a former colleague of Tyner's) chose to play two standards, plus Tyner's "Monk's Blues," Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'n' You," and the improvised opening jam, "Newport Romp." What is a surprise is that not only does the group hold together, but they excel. They sound empathetic, as if they've played many times before, yet there are enough sparks to signal that they're still unsure of what the other will play. The results are thoroughly compelling and unpredictable, even when it's just a Tyner showcase, like "Monk's Blues." Essentially a solo showcase with support from Cranshaw and Roker, Tyner really pushes on this number, beginning it as a Monk homage and pushing it to continually inventive territory. It's the riskiest playing on the record from Tyner, but just because Live at Newport isn't as risky as his work with Coltrane during the early '60s doesn't mean it's limp or complacent. It's straight-ahead hard bop in the best possible sense -- accessible but stimulating, engaging and vibrant from beginning to end. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1996 | Blue Note Records

This stimulating LP has an interesting combination of players. It may be the only recording to include both pianist McCoy Tyner and his successor with the John Coltrane Quartet, Alice Coltrane (who adds atmosphere with her harp). The set also matches the young altoist Gary Bartz with Wayne Shorter (doubling on tenor and soprano), whom he succeeded in Miles Davis' group, and reunites Shorter and bassist Ron Carter, and Tyner and drummer Elvin Jones. The all-star sextet stretches out on lengthy renditions of four of Tyner's modal originals, and there is strong solo space for the leader and the two saxophonists. Wayne Shorter in particular is often quite intense. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 1, 1988 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1975 | Milestone

Pianist McCoy Tyner's first full-length trio album since 1964 was one of his most popular. Accompanied by bassist Ron Carter and Elvin Jones, Tyner (who uses harpsichord and/or celeste for flavoring on three of the six pieces) shows why he was considered the most influential acoustic pianist of the era (before Bill Evans began to surpass him in that category). Whether it be Jobim's "Once I Loved," "Impressions," "Ruby, My Dear" or Tyner's three powerful originals, this set finds Tyner in peak form. © Scott Yanow /TiVo

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McCoy Tyner in the magazine