Pianist McCoy Tyner was the modal underpinning in one of the most famous groups in the jazz firmament, the 1960-'65 quartet led by John Coltrane. Born in Philadelphia in 1938, Tyner had the encouragement of his mother, also a pianist, although the fact that Ritchie and Bud Powell were neighbors was probably the biggest factor in his jazz career. He was leading his own teen jazz combo and gigging in Philadelphia by his mid-teens, about the time he became a Sunni Muslim, taking the name Sulaimon Saud but continuing to use Tyner as his professional moniker. Although he had worked earlier with Coltrane in Philadelphia, his first brush with fame came during the six months he spent in 1959 as a member of Art Farmer, Curtis Fuller and Benny Golson's Jazztet. After leaving the Jazztet to join Coltrane, Tyner became the perfect foil and grounding for Coltrane's ever-striving, soul-searching torrents of sound, along with bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones. Despite the fact that its music was never easy listening, the group became popular worldwide, making frequent tours throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, recording mostly for the Impulse! label. After departing from the quartet and being replaced by Coltrane's wife, Alice, Tyner began working in a trio format and following other musical pursuits, including work with r&b and blues-oriented artists. He recorded for Blue Note, making the classic, The Real McCoy, among others. He signed with Milestone in the early '70s, where he recorded Sahara and Echoes Of A Friend. Since the '70s, Tyner has continued working as a widely known leader, most often in a trio format but also leading quartets, quintets, and occasionally big band for concerts and recordings for a variety of labels. His longtime working trio sidemen are Avery Sharpe and Aaron Scott.
Check out McCoy Tyner's page at emusic for free MP3 downloads
Recommended recordings
The Real McCoy Blue note 46512
Sahara OJC 311-2 - Milestone 9039
Things aint what they used to be Blue Note
Remembering John Enja
Infinity Impulse
Enlightenment Milestone
Focal Point OJC
Prelude & Sonata Milestone
4x4 McCoy Tyner Quartet Milestone
Inception Impulse
What the World needs Now Impulse
Fly with the Wind OJC
Manhattan Moods Blue Note
Best of, The Blue Note Years Blue Note
Song for My Lady OJC
Soliloquy Blue Note
Echoes of a Friend OJC
Trident OJC
Extensions Blue Note
Time for Tyner Blue Note
Land of Giants (w. Bobby Hutcherson) Blue Note
Books & DVDs
Some of the Best Contemporary Jazz Pianists
Kenny Barron
Joe Zawinul
Brad Meldau
Bill Charlap
Keith Jarrett
Jason Moran