Entries tagged with “McCoy Tyner”.

A revolution took place by the mid of the 20th century in American and world music. Jazz, which was until then music for mostly dance and mass entertainment split its ways into several distinct currents, giving birth to rock and roll, to soul, to rhythm and blues. Yes, I know this presentation is quite a simplistic view, but at that time, while other genres were taking up in entertainment dominating the hit parades, radio programs and TV shows, jazz itself evolved to a much more sophisticated form of expression. A bunch of post-WWII jazz musicians changed and developed the sound of jazz making and blew up its boundaries. Among them, together with Charlie Parker and Miles Davies, one of the most important was John Coltrane. “Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary” is dedicated to his life, music and legacy. These exceptional artists toured the world and made of jazz a universal art and one of the greatest contributions of America to the culture of the world.





The documentary written and directed by is built on a pattern used by many musical documentary films. It follows closely the life and biography of the artists, uses images filmed and recorded in concerts to illustrate his music, gathers testimonies from family, from jazz fans and experts, from the artists who worked with Coltrane and who came later and were influenced by him. Family members tell about the man he was (moving testimonies by his two step-daughters) and his personal life not avoiding the crisis related to drugs and faith. Musicians who played with him or who came after him talk about his music, and this was the part I valued most (including people like , , , , ). An interesting segments speaks about his tour to Japan (his last) and the special relationship he had with this country. Coltrane seems to not have left any filmed interview, or the makers of this film did not have access to it, but he left quite a lot of memorable quotes and written stories about his life and music, which are read by . The actor (who does not appear in the film) bears actually an amazing physical resemblance with Coltrane, so if there ever (or soon) will be a feature film about him, he is the best candidate for the lead role. It is music however that speaks best, and if you have the chance to watch this film and listen to the soundtrack in a cinema with good audio conditions, it will be a win. It’s not a ground-shaking documentary film, but it’s a complete and respectful homage to one of the greatest musicians in history, a man who in a rather short life and career changed the course of music taking it into new territories.

The full film (which I have seen yesterday at the EPOS art films festival in Tel Aviv) is available on youTube at


(video source Repórter Lata)








Some of my finest and dearest memories are of having seen live a few of the jazz giants I had the chance to be contemporary with. Among them Thelonius Monk, Lionel Hampton, Dave Brubeck, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Chick Correa.  I was looking forward to hear and see playing live pianist McCoy Tyner who gave one concert last night in Petakh-Tikvah.



(video source mariobq)


McCoy Tyner’s first meeting with fame took place in 1960 when at the age of 22 he joined the famous John Coltrane Quartet led by Coltrane (tenor sax), with Jimmy Garrison (bass) and Elvin Jones (drums). It was the time when Coltrane recorded his first great album ‘My Favorite Things’ and continued to play and make records for the next five years with one of the greatest bands in the history of jazz. By 1965 when Coltrane continued to experiment and invent, entering the free jazz universe Tyner who was more conservative and tied to the melodic school of classic American jazz left Coltrane to start an independent career.


(video source jazzster123)


Most of his great successes in concerts and records belong to the trio formula – typically with bass and drums joining Tyner’s piano which carries most of the melodic line (when he is not joined by guitar or saxophone musicians). Here he is in 1989, together with Avery Sharpe – bass and Aaron Scott – drums, playing Monk’s Dream.


(video source peterw99)


A more recent recording dates from 2002 in Marciac, with Avery Sharpe again at bass and Al Foster on drums. The formula is pretty simple, a strong melodic introduction in many cases with a classic music ambiance, followed by generous opportunities for the bass and drums in developing, reinterpreting, and improvising on the theme, with a crescendo reunion dominated by the sound universe created by the piano towards the end. Round, balanced, beautiful!



The concert last night was not part of the Hot Jazz series I am usually attending and I frankly missed this. I will not comment on the price of the tickets, yes it was more than double of the one for a concert in the series, but I and the other fans would probably have paid even more to see and hear Tyner. However, at any price I would have expected the Zappa Club who organized the concert to print at least a basic leaflet introducing the artists playing together as part of the trio. Acoustics were mediocre, a little better after the break. Tyner himself was great, he has a sound that fills the air and envelops everything around in music. He looked however frail, tired or maybe just the age puts a tag, and the end of the concert seemed abrupt, with the musicians never returning to the stage even to thank and acknowledge the fans who stayed and applauded for minutes. This was a little strange and disappointing.