Upon its release on LP in 1976, Fly With the Wind
quickly became a significant part of pianist McCoy Tyner's growing canon. Played seemingly endlessly by fans, it's an album rarely cited as a classic from the '70s, since mainstream jazz was on the comeback trail from the difficult '60s. Nonetheless, this 24-bit remaster is one of many reissues emanating from legendary producer Orrin Keepnews' extensive Keepnews Collection
Along with the original artwork and liners, Keepnews adds several pages of commentary and reminisces about Tyner's music and the climate of the studio session. Ultimately, Tyner succeeds where countless other jazz musicians have abysmally failed, regarding the fusion of strings and horns into the progressive jazz format.
Fly With the Wind was recorded at Fantasy Studios in early 1976. Tyner's distinct craft radiates luminously amid textured strings, flautist Hubert Laws' dreamy and majestic lines over the top. Add Billy Cobham's polyrhythmic pulses to the mix and you have an album that pronounces a sequence of memorably melodic works that intimate a near flawless balance of sublime harmonic theme-building forays and unbridled power. Tyner also merges the Latin element in spots, which is a component that seamlessly morphs into the strings overlays and complements his dominant style.
Two bonus tracks are included on this 2008 reissue: "Beyond the Sun (alternate)" and "Rolem (alternate)." The bulk of the program is designed with Tyner's high-velocity, lyrically resplendent voicings and spiraling arpeggios, but Laws' flute work serves as the icebreaker during the impacting movements. Moreover, Cobham and bassist Ron Carter provide the pliant undercurrent, where oboist Raymond Dusle signals in a chamber-like vibe on the opening passages of "Beyond the Sun." Sure enough, it's Tyner at the pinnacle of his early post- Coltrane career. Essential listening.
Personnel: McCoy Tyner: piano; Hubert Laws: flute; Billy Cobham: drums; Ron Carter: bass; Orchestra conducted by William Fischer.