McCoy Tyner Has Come a Long Way Since His Coltrane Days

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Monday September 14, 2009

By Hugo Kugiya for The Seattle Times

For all the years that have passed and all the music McCoy Tyner has made since he went out on his own, his membership in one of jazz history’s greatest groups remains a calling card.

Now 70, Tyner will always be the pianist in the original John Coltrane Quartet, which he was a part of from 1960 to 1965, when the group recorded “My Favorite Things,” “A Love Supreme” and “Live at the Village Vanguard.”

Fresh off a trip performing in Japan, Tyner and his trio will perform seven sets at Jazz Alley over four nights, starting Thursday. He will be accompanied by bassist Charnett Moffett and drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt.

In the four decades since parting ways with Coltrane, Tyner has recorded more than 60 albums, won four Grammy Awards and earned his own record label, McCoy Tyner Music, a subsidiary of Blue Note. A player of orchestral ability, with an explosive left hand and a deeply embedded feel for the blues, Tyner has developed a highly identifiable sound over the years.

A curious innovator, he has taken on recording projects with not just other jazz greats but with masters of unconventional instruments like the banjo and the Japanese koto. He even recorded an album with tap dancer Savion Glover.

His most recent album, “Guitars,” is a collaboration with Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, John Scofield, Derek Trucks and Béla Fleck. He has a solo album due out later this year, a recording of a live performance in San Francisco.

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