Jazz Piano Titan
McCoy Tyner is one of the legendary figures in modern jazz. Tyner’s 1988 appearance at The Dakota was a significant moment for the club, and his return engagements have been no less magical.
McCoy Tyner’s blues-based piano style has become one of the most identifiable sounds in improvised music. His harmonic contributions and dramatic rhythmic devices form the vocabulary of a majority of jazz pianists, and his sound and storied career have changed the face of jazz. Now in his seventh decade, he is making some of the most exciting music of his storied career.
“My mother gave me a choice. She said, ‘Would you like to take singing lessons or piano?’ I’m glad I chose piano.” -McCoy Tyner
Tyner grew up in Philadelphia, and started playing piano at age 13. He was influenced heavily by his neighbor, Bud Powell, and music quickly became young Tyner’s focus. He first gained exposure with Benny Golson’s Jazztet, then at age 17 became a part of one of the legendary ensembles in jazz, theJohn Coltrane Quartet. The quartet, which included Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums, toured almost non-stop between 1961 and 1965, recording a number of influential albums during this time: Live at the Village Vanguard, Ballads, Live at Birdland, Crescent, and the sublime masterpiece A Love Supreme.
Tyner’s work with Coltrane came to an end after the Sun Ship sessions, when it became clear that Coltrane was headed in an entirely new direction. Tyner became a bandleader in his own right and released a number of successful and highly influential albums: 1967′s The Real McCoy, 1968′sTime For Tyner, 1970′s Extensions. Tyner’s 1972 album Saharaincorporated the sounds and rhythms of Africa in a new way, and received two Grammy nominations and was named Album of the Year by Downbeat. Tyner also won “Pianist of the Year” and “Best Acoustic Jazz Group” in Downbeat’s Critics Poll four years in a row, 1974-1978.
The past three decades have seen Tyner working with several ensembles. Tyner’s small ensembles have won Grammy Awards for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance in 1988(Blues For Coltrane), 1995 (Infinity), and 2004 (Illuminations). In 1992 and 1994 Tyner’s Big Band won Grammy Awards for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance (The Turning Point and Journey). In 2002 Tyner received a Jazz Master award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“Watching McCoy Tyner play is the equivalent to watching a Rembrandt paint a picture — and although older and perhaps less athletic than in his youth, the master still wields an arsenal of creativity that is to be envied and savored.” -Jazz Chicago
“…[Tyner’s] still playing fierce, uncompromising and delightful music.” -JazzTimes
“McCoy Tyner’s dramatic arpeggios, thunderous bass pulses and modulated chord voicings have inspired generations of aspiring jazz musicians… he still possesses the visionary spirit that made him a legend.” -All About Jazz
“…McCoy Tyner is hardly the prototype of a musician re-creating past hits, instead he signals that he still has a few surprises up his sleeve…” -All Music Guide