McCoy Tyner became well known as "the pianist in John Coltrane's Quartet but his compositional and playing identity, even while playing with Coltrane, is blazingly unique, incisive and confident.
Passion Dance was recorded at the "Live Under the Sky Festival in Tokyo in 1978. The crowd roars with approval as Tony Williams (drums) sets up the tempo for "Moment's Notice and as Tyner and Ron Carter (bass) enter with the famous theme. This is an explosive, soul-stirring performance that becomes a duo between Williams and Tyner before an excellent drum solo (Williams in his 'big drums' á la Billy Cobham phase) segues into yet more trio exploration. If that wasn't enough, Tyner then plays unaccompanied, freely using pieces of the theme as if shining its light through a prism; we hear the details of Tyner's blazing creative process. Most of Passion Dance however is solo piano performance. In the 11-minute rendition of his title track (well known from the album The Real McCoy) Tyner goes in many different, exciting directions including a foray into a jazz waltz.
Time for Tyner, recorded in 1968, is a wonderful album that features vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson as the lead 'horn'. While there are several other discs that feature both of them, this one is particularly satisfying. The CD contains six tracks: three Tyner originals and three standards. "African Village starts with the focus on the rhythm section: Herbie Lewis' rock solid bass playing features extended techniques and Freddie Waits' drums are both sensitive and driving. Hutcherson and Tyner play the uplifting theme joyously over this great rhythmic foundation. "Little Madima uses a groove (that is somewhat like a turbulent "Maiden Voyage ) to propel both Hutcherson and Tyner to inspired solos. "May Street is an up-tempo swing piece that features Waits' outstanding drumming. Tyner's beautiful re-working of the standard "I Didn't Know What Time It Was features one of Hutcherson's best recorded solos.
Tracks and Personnel
Time For Tyner
Tracks: African Village; Little Madimba; May Street; I Didn't Know What Time it Was; The Surrey with the Fringe on Top; I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face.
Personnel: McCoy Tyner, piano; Bobby Hutcherson, vibes; Herbie Lewis, bass; Freddie Waits, drums.
Tracks: Moment's Notice; Passion Dance; Search for Peace; The Promise; Song of the New World
Personnel: McCoy Tyner, piano; Ron Carter, bass (on "Moment's Notice and "Song for the New World ); Tony Williams, drums (on "Moment's Notice and "Song for the New World ).