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McCoy Tyner

 

 

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McCoy Tyner is one of the most influential pianist of the last 30 years.  He was born in Philadelphia in 1938.   He began playing professionally when he was 15 and when he was 21 years, John Coltrane invited him to be the pianist for his newly-formed quartet.  He started out heavily influenced by Bud Powell, using his left hand to play sparse chords and his right hand to play horn-like melodic lines.   However, he developed a style that played dense chords with both hands, out of the need to be heard, since he played alongside the thunderous sound of Elvin Jones' drums.  His accompaniment was perfect for Coltrane as Coltrane was looking to explore new territories and was starting to playing a freer style (influenced by the free jazz movement).  Tyner's style gave Coltrane more freedom and didn't tie him tightly to specific chords.  

After leaving Coltrane's group in 1965, he formed various groups, from trios to big bands.  In the mid to late sixties, he recorded some highly regarded albums, such as The Real McCoy (1967).  In the early 70s, he came on hard times and found himself playing rhythm and blues music for Ike and Tina Turner and driving a taxi.  However, he signed another record contract and recorded the highly regarded album Sahara in 1972.  In 1989, he received a Grammy award for his record A Tribute to John Coltrane.  In 1992 and 1995, he won Grammies for his records The Turning Point and The Journey, respectively.  In 1995, he was selected by Impulse records to re-launch their company, and his album Infinity that he recorded with saxophonist Michael Brecker won him an additional two Grammies. 


To learn more about McCoy Tyner, check out this site:

The Real McCoy

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