McCoy Tyner: Land of Giants (2003)
Land of Giants, recorded after the quartet won raves at a 2002 London engagement, reunites Tyner with a fellow giant of forward-thinking '60s jazz, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, on a set of seven fresh Tyner originals – an impressive mix of Latin numbers, modal burners and a Coltrane-esque blues – plus three standards. And while the two veterans (along with the fine bass/drum combo of Charnett Moffett and Eric Harland) may not reach the epic heights of some of their earlier collaborations (like Hutcherson's 1965 Stick-Up! or the 1993 duet album, Manhattan Moods ), they prove themselves still kindred spirits and still among the most exciting, advanced improvisers on the scene.
Tyner's huge, heavily percussive piano remains one of the most identifiable – and inimitable – sounds in jazz; but he also has an underrated lyrical side, revealed to great effect here on "For All We Know" and Ellington's "In a Mellow Tone." Hutcherson is Tyner's perfect foil, matching the leader's whirlwind keyboard forays with his own imposing, harmonically rich runs on the vibes.
McCoy Tyner’s been so good and so prolific for so long that his excellence seems a given. But give credit where it is due – he has earned a place in the land of giants.
This review originally appeared in All About Jazz-New York .
Track Listing: 1. Serra Do Mar (Tyner) - 6:34 2. December (Tyner) - 4:47 3. Steppin' (Tyner) - 4:48 4. If I Were a Bell (Loesser) - 7:50 5. Manalyuca (Tyner) - 7:20 6. Back Bay Blues (Tyner) - 6:11 7. For All We Know (Coots/Lewis) - 4:33 8. The Search (Tyner) - 5:47 9. Comtemplation (Tyner) - 6:13 10. In a Mellow Tone (Ellington) - 6:17
Personnel: McCoy Tyner - Piano; Bobby Hutcherson - Vibraphone; Charnett Moffett - Bass; Eric Harland - Drums.
Record Label: Telarc Records