All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

179

McCoy Tyner Trio with Gary Bartz: New York, NY, September 1, 2011

Lawrence Peryer By

Sign in to view read count
McCoy Tyner Trio with Gary Bartz
Blue Note
New York, NY
September 1, 2011

With all of the thunder and lightning he has summoned for more than fifty years, pianist McCoy Tyner kicked off eight sets over four nights at Manhattan's Blue Note Jazz Club on Thursday, September 1, 2011.

This run was unique, compared to Tyner's typical Blue Note residencies, in that it was part of Generations of Jazz, a production of Quincy Jones which provides a promising newcomer with a slot opening for a master of the same instrument. In this case, the 30-minute support slot for each set was occupied by the Alfredo Rodriguez. This Cuban-born pianist, discovered by Jones, performed a mixture of his own highly original and complex compositions, along with interpretations from the Cuban piano canon. If his onstage demeanor was stereotypically passionate and mercurial, these same attributes combined for two fiery and confident sets of music.

The 72 year old Tyner showed no signs of slowing; at least not once he reached the bandstand. A seemingly frail man as he shuffled toward the stage, the pianist's playing brooked no concession to his years. His left hand crashed with rhythmic intensity, while the right shimmered with staccato-laced melody. As a bandleader, he was especially engaged with—and much of his interplay was focused around—drummer Francisco Mela. Mela, who has established himself as the go-to Young Turk for the likes of Joe Lovano, Kenny Barron and John Scofield, performed double-duty on this run. While he has only recently replaced longtime Tyner sideman Eric Gravatt on the drummer's stool, he also manned the kit for the Rodríguez Trio, and performed with a playful intensity that had Tyner and bassist Gerald Cannon nodding, smiling and laughing with surprise throughout. His propulsion drove several Tyner solos to new heights.

Specific mention must be made of saxophonist Gary Bartz as well. His "special guest" billing downplayed his importance to Tyner's Trio. While the pianist clearly directed the band through the solos and changes, it was Bartz who called each song in the set, leaning into Tyner with his choice for the leader to count off. This veteran of Tyner sessions and tours since 1968 has his own rich history as a leader and sideman, having played with all of the seminal figures from the late '60s onward: Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Pharoah Sanders, Donald Byrd, Gene Ammons, and many others. As a leader, his Nu Troop recorded several touchstone sides of Pan African free and avant jazz in the '70s.

While Tyner's repertoire for most of the 21st century has consisted primarily of compositions from his own voluminous songbook, a handful of John Coltrane compositions and the occasional Duke Ellington ballad, there appear to be two rules that govern his band: first, each musician will solo round-robin style at least once on every song. The second rule seems to dictate that every turn at the fore will be treated as an opportunity to make a statement. While not every bar of every solo was transcendent, there were definitely moments of soul, blues, funk, grace, wisdom and mysticism in each.

These two bandleaders and their supporting musicians combined to provide a musical journey that stretched from Africa, the Caribbean straight through post-War Urban America.


McCoy Tyner 8:00 Set: Fly With the Wind; Ballad for Aisha; Moment's Notice; Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit.

McCoy Tyner 10:30 Set: Mellow Minor; Suddenly; Blues on the Corner; African Village.


McCoy Tyner Trio with Gary Bartz Personnel: McCoy Tyner: piano; Gerald Cannon: bass; Francisco Mela: drums; Gary Bartz: saxophone.

Alfredo Rodríguez Trio Personnel: Alfredo Rodríguez: piano; Peter Slavov: bass; Francisco Mela: drums.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Enjoy Jazz 2018 Live Reviews
Enjoy Jazz 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Jazz for all Ages Live Reviews
Jazz for all Ages
by Martin McFie
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Baku Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Baku Jazz Festival 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Moldejazz 2018 Live Reviews
Moldejazz 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: November 10, 2018
Read Nik Bärtsch's Ronin At The Bop Stop Live Reviews
Nik Bärtsch's Ronin At The Bop Stop
by Matt Hooke
Published: November 10, 2018
Read "Oslo Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews Oslo Jazz Festival 2018
by John Sharpe
Published: August 29, 2018
Read "Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe" Live Reviews Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 13, 2018