Monday, March 7, 2011
When I was at San Diego State, jazz pianist McCoy Tyner came to The Backdoor on campus a number of times. I never went. In my naivete I thought, he's only Coltrane's piano player. Who wants to see him?
Now when I see his name I think, he was COLTRANE'S PIANO PLAYER!!! He played on "My Favorite Things," "A Love Supreme," "Ascension" and all the wild Coltrane Impulse albums through "Meditations."
I'm not sure what the circumstances were for him leaving Coltrane. Maybe it was just time to move on or maybe Coltrane wanted to get freer musically. This is one of the arguments among hardcore jazz fans: Coltrane vs. Ornette Coleman. Even Coltrane's wildest outings were still rooted in the chords, the piano. Ornette Coleman's groundbreaking quartet was pianoless, thus freeing them from the changes.
After leaving Coltrane, McCoy Tyner embarked on an ongoing solo career that brings him to Anthology (on March 9th) for two shows.
Tyner plays in a percussive, thunderous style with massive chords and an extremely dense sound (he's been known to break piano strings). I've got a handful of his more than forty albums and they're all pretty intense.
This is a chance to see one of the surviving giants of the post-bop era, and there aren't many left. He is currently touring with noted alto saxophonist Gary Bartz, who's played with everyone from Miles to Mingus.