There isn't much you can say about the great McCoy Tyner that hasn't already been said -- he's a true piano virtuoso, a consumate composer, a seasoned bandleader, and a gifted and inventive improvisor. The Sunday night set was comprised of Tyner originals and classic standards, and while I've always enjoyed his open-harmony composition, the real highlight for me was his solo performance of We'll Be Together Again
, which he recorded on one of his classic Impulse sides, Night of Ballads and Blues
. His spontaneous reharmonizing of the tune, with a very free and exploratory introduction that almost gave the illusion of another tune, was jaw-dropping in my mind; the McCoy Tyner that everyone hears on the classic Coltrane albums is very different from the McCoy Tyner of 2005, and I think that his solo piano playing defines his own, unique style of today much more so than the trio rendition of Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit
, one of his more recent, but nonetheless "classic", compositions. Not to mention that Charnett Moffett, also an extremely virtuosic bassist, seemed to "dumb down" the tunes in his solos -- Tyner is a chance taker and still proves to be that, while Moffett and the drummer (whose name I did not catch) were very safe, sometimes to the point of borderline corny-ness (for my taste).
While looking for a picture to add to this posting, I found a review of McCoy Tyner's trio at Jazz Alley from 1996 -- written by my brother Thomas for the University of Washington Daily. I was surprised to see how much we agreed on McCoy, despite the reviews being almost 10 years apart -- a true testement to McCoy -- and how the solo piano-playing really affected us both. To McCoy Tyner -- still pluggin' away, still kickin' ass and takin' names, and still a gentleman.