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McCoy Tyner

McCoy Tyner plays the piano like Goliath. For his Birdland debut, dazzling opener "Home" demonstrated his familiar percussive approach, all thunder and fire. His perf nuanced with bold block chords, one is never quite sure where he is heading, and the structure is always dotted with surprising changes of tempo and flavorful descents.

With uncommon strength and an imaginative, original approach to voicings and dynamics, McCoy Tyner plays the piano like Goliath. His extraordinary legacy as John Coltrane’s pianist in the early 1960 has elevated him to the front ranks on the keys, and for more than four decades, his unique style has remained powerfully individualistic. For his Birdland debut, dazzling opener “Home” demonstrated his familiar percussive approach, all thunder and fire. His perf nuanced with bold block chords, one is never quite sure where he is heading, and the structure is always dotted with surprising changes of tempo and flavorful descents.

“Steppin’,” from Tyner’s latest Telarc CD, “Land of Giants,” had a racing tempo. Boldly rhythmic, the gait was feverishly fueled by Al Foster, a drummer rich with complementary ideas.

Even the ballad “December,” which began with plaintive tenderness, soon turned to thunder. Tyner’s unaccompanied solo spot, “Memories,” was lavished with uncommon poetic flourish. You never know where Tyner’s deep well of thoughts will take him, and to fully appreciate the joys within requires full attention from the listener.

On the gritty blues romp “Blues Stride,” bassist George Mraz and Foster rendered solos that were crisply articulated and complementary to Tyner’s attack. Influenced in his youth by Monk, Earl “Fatha” Hines and Bud Powell, Tyner is not only a brilliant protege of a long-gone era but a wise prophet for a new generation.

McCoy Tyner

Birdland; 150 capacity; $40

  • Production: Presented inhouse. Opened and reviewed Aug. 19, 2003.
  • Crew:
  • Cast: <B>Musicians: </B>George Mraz, Al Foster.
  • Music By: