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McCoy Tyner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1/22/15 4:24 PM

McCoy Tyner
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alfred McCoy Tyner (born December 11, 1938)[1] is a jazz

pianist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, known for his work

McCoy Tyner

with the John Coltrane Quartet and a long solo career.[2]

1 Biography
1.1 Early life
1.2 Early career
1.3 Post-Coltrane
2 Style
3 Discography
4 Relatives
5 References
6 External links

McCoy Tyner in 1973

Background information


Birth name

Alfred McCoy Tyner


December 11, 1938

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United


Bebop, hard bop, Cuban jazz, modal

Early life
Tyner was born in Philadelphia as the oldest of three
children. He was encouraged to study piano by his mother.
He began studying the piano at age 13 and within two years
music had become the focal point in his life. His early
influences included Bud Powell, a Philadelphia neighbor.
When he was 17, he converted to Islam through the
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and changed his name to
Sulieman Saud.[3]

jazz, mainstream jazz, third stream,

Occupation(s) Musician, composer, bandleader


Years active



Impulse!, Blue Note, Milestone,



John Coltrane, Joe Henderson,

Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter,

Early career

Hank Mobley, Stanley Turrentine


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McCoy Tyner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Tyner's first main exposure came with Benny Golson, being

the first pianist in Golson's and Art Farmer's Jazztet (1960).
After departing the Jazztet, Tyner joined Coltrane's group in
1960 during its extended run at the Jazz Gallery, replacing Steve Kuhn. (Coltrane had known Tyner for a while
in Philadelphia, and featured one of the pianist's compositions, "The Believer", as early as 1958.) He appeared
on the saxophonist's popular recording of "My Favorite Things" for Atlantic Records. The Coltrane Quartet,
which consisted of Coltrane on tenor sax, Tyner, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums, toured
almost non-stop between 1961 and 1965 and recorded a number of albums, including Live! at the Village
Vanguard, Ballads, Live at Birdland, Crescent, A Love Supreme, and The John Coltrane Quartet Plays, on the
Impulse! label.
Tyner has recorded a number of highly influential albums in his own right. While in Coltrane's group, he
recorded a series (primarily in the piano trio format) for Impulse! Records.[1] The pianist also appeared as a
sideman on many of the highly acclaimed Blue Note albums of the 1960s, although was often credited as "etc."
on the cover of these albums (when listing the sidemen on the album) in order to respect his contractual
obligations at Impulse![1]
His involvement with Coltrane came to an end in 1965. Coltrane's music was becoming much more atonal and
free; he had also augmented his quartet with percussion players who threatened to drown out both Tyner and
Jones: "I didn't see myself making any contribution to that music... All I could hear was a lot of noise. I didn't
have any feeling for the music, and when I don't have feelings, I don't play."[4] By 1966, Tyner was rehearsing
with a new trio and embarked on his career as a leader.[5]

After leaving Coltrane's group, Tyner produced a series of post-bop albums released on Blue Note Records
from 1967 to 1970, which included The Real McCoy (1967), Tender Moments (1967), Time for Tyner (1968),
Expansions (1968) and Extensions (1970). Soon thereafter he moved to the Milestone label and recorded many
influential albums, including Sahara (1972), Enlightenment (1973), and Fly with the Wind (1976), which
featured flautist Hubert Laws, drummer Billy Cobham, and a string orchestra. His music for Blue Note and
Milestone often took the Coltrane quartet's music as a point of departure and also incorporated African and East
Asian musical elements. On Sahara, for instance, Tyner plays koto, in addition to piano, flute, and percussion.
These albums are often cited as examples of vital, innovative jazz from the 1970s that was neither fusion nor
free jazz. Trident (1975) is notable for featuring Tyner on harpsichord (rarely heard in jazz) and celeste, in
addition to his primary instrument, piano.
Tyner still records and tours regularly and played from the 1980s through '90s with a trio that included Avery
Sharpe on bass and first Louis Hayes, then Aaron Scott, on drums. He made a trio of solo recordings for Blue
Note, starting with Revelations (1988) and culminating with Soliloquy (1991). Today Tyner records for the
Telarc label and has been playing with different trios, one of which has included Charnett Moffett on bass and
Al Foster on drums. In 2008, Tyner toured with his quartet, which featured saxophonist Gary Bartz with Gerald
Cannon (bass) and Eric Kamau Gravatt (drums).


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McCoy Tyner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1/22/15 4:24 PM

McCoy was also a judge for the 6th, 10th[6] and 11th[7] annual
Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.

Tyner's style of
piano is easily
comparable to
maximalist style of

McCoy Tyner, Keystone Korner, San

Francisco CA, March 1981 (photo:
Brian McMillen)

Though a member of
Coltrane's group, he
was never
overshadowed by
the saxophonist, but
complemented and
even inspired
Coltrane's open-

McCoy Tyner with Ravi Coltrane

minded approach.[1] Tyner is considered to be one of the

most influential jazz pianists of the 20th century, an honor he earned both with Coltrane and in his years of
performing following Coltrane's death.[1]
Though playing instruments of vastly different versatility, both Tyner and Coltrane utilize similar scales,
chordal structures, melodic phrasings, and rhythms. Tyner's playing can be distinguished by a low bass left
hand, in which he tends to raise his arm relatively high above the keyboard for an emphatic attack; the fact that
Tyner is left-handed may contribute to this distinctively powerful style. Tyner's unique right-hand soloing is
recognizable for a detached, or staccato, quality. His melodic vocabulary is rich, ranging from raw blues to
complexly superimposed pentatonic scales; his unique approach to chord voicing (most characteristically by
fourths) has influenced a wide array of contemporary jazz pianists, most notably Chick Corea. Other
instruments included the Appalachian dulcimer.

Tyner is the older brother of Jarvis Tyner, executive vice chairman of the Communist Party USA.[8]

1. ^ a b c d e f Yanow, Scott (December 11, 1938). "Allmusic biography"

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McCoy Tyner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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(http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p44956/biography). Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2012-06-25.

2. ^ "McCoy Tyner Biography" (http://www.mccoytyner.com/bio.shtml). Mccoytyner.com. September 11, 2007. Retrieved
3. ^ Turner, Richard Brent (2003). Islam in the African American Experience (http://books.google.com/books?
&q=mccoy%20tyner%20ahmadiyya&f=false). Indiana University Press. p. 140. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
4. ^ Lewis Porter, John Coltrane: His Life and Music, p. 266.
5. ^ Lewis Porter, John Coltrane: His Life and Music, p. 268.
6. ^ "Independent Music Awards 6th Annual Judges"
IndependentMusicAwards.com. October 5, 2009. Archived from the original
(http://www.independentmusicawards.com/ima_new/imajudges2007.asp) on October 5, 2009. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
7. ^ "11th Annual IMA Judges (http://www.independentmusicawards.com/ima/judges/11th-annual-ima-judges/).
Independent Music Awards. Retrieved on Sep 4, 2013.
8. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/arts/music/30parker.html?_r=0

External links
McCoy Tyner interview
McCoy Tyner's musical style (http://www.jazz-

Wikimedia Commons has

media related to McCoy

piano.org/pianist/McCoy-Tyner/style) at www.jazz-piano.org (http://www.jazz-piano.org)

McCoy Tyner official homepage (http://www.mccoytyner.com/)
Podcast featuring interview with McCoy Tyner (Audio) originally broadcast on WKCR 89.9 FM-NY
McCoy Tyner at Jazz Resource Center (http://www.jazzcenter.org/tyner/)
McCoy Tyner sessionography (http://www.kyushu-ns.ac.jp/~allan/Documents/Mcoy%20Tyner.html)
NEA Jazz Masters biography (http://www.iaje.org/bio.asp?ArtistID=63)
McCoy Tyner recent live concert review (http://www.jazzchicago.net/reviews/mccoytyner.html)
McCoy Tyner Trio with Gary Bartz 2011 concert review (http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=McCoy_Tyner&oldid=625972613"
Categories: Cuban jazz (genre) pianists American jazz pianists African-American pianists


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McCoy Tyner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1/22/15 4:24 PM

American jazz composers African-American musicians American jazz bandleaders Hard bop pianists
Modal jazz pianists Mainstream jazz pianists Post-bop pianists John Coltrane
Musicians from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Grammy Award-winning artists Columbia Records artists
Enja Records artists Timeless Records artists Elektra Records artists Milestone Records artists
Palo Alto Records artists Red Baron Records artists Impulse! Records artists Telarc Records artists
1938 births Living people Converts to Islam American Muslims American Ahmadis
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