Though two tracks from October 1960 were previously issued under McCoy Tyner's name, they were outtakes from John Coltrane dates where the saxophonist sat out. Inception marks the pianist's first proper release as bandleader, with the sessions for Impulse! taking place at Rudy Van Gelder's studio on January 10 and 11, 1962. Of the set's six tracks, four are Tyner compositions, with "Effendi" becoming something of a modern jazz standard and embraced, most notably, by pianist Ahmad Jamal.
A trio setting with bassist Art Davis and drummer Elvin Jones, Inception is a strong debut, though not necessarily indicative of the monster player Tyner would become. His fleet-fingered, lyrical right hand is in full force but the thundering left hand, which would become something of his trademark, is not really evident here, partly due to the material, which is a bit more subdued when compared to the raucous repertoire that busied Tyner in his regular job at the time: manning the piano bench for Coltrane. That said, ballads and slower blues, like many of those on Inception, have remained an important part of Tyner's songbook throughout his career.
The program does pick up intensity as it progresses, with "Effendi" and the pianist's album-closing take on Kurt Weil and Ogden Nash's "Speak Low" highlighting Jones' percolating drum work, Tyner's dexterity and the symbiosis shared between them.
Inception remains important as a jazz giant's debut and an iconic example of 1960s piano jazz.
Inception; There Is No Greater Love; Blues for Gwen; Sunset; Effendi; Speak Low.
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