346

McCoy Tyner: Time for Tyner

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
With the release of the latest batch of Rudy Van Gelder Blue Note reissues comes the opportunity to hear vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson on two sessions that demonstrate just how flexible he is—something that continues to define him to this day on projects like the recently-released SFJazz Collective. But unlike SFJazz, which is a true cooperative ensemble, we're talking about Hutcherson the sideman on the '64 date that would become pianist Andrew Hill's Judgement, and here, on pianist McCoy Tyner's '68 session Time for Tyner.

Both sessions are quartet dates featuring vibes, piano, bass, and drums—in this case the rhythm section consists of bassist Herbie Lewis and drummer Freddie Waits. Waits comes to mind these days more as the father of drummer Nasheet Waits, but he was an equally versatile player who appeared on numerous sessions for Tyner, Hubert Laws, Hill, and others before his untimely passing in '89 at the age of 46. The teaming of two chordal instruments raises the possibility of some toe-stepping, but Hutcherson, unlike Gary Burton who emerged around the same time, was always a more linear player. And so while this is texturally lighter than dates featuring a horn in the front line, Hutcherson plays a similar role.

Time for Tyner is situated between two '67 releases, the quartet classic The Real McCoy and octet Tender Moments, and the less-reputed but equally significant Expansions—recorded a scant three months later with the same rhythm section, but featuring a three-horn front line and Ron Carter on cello. It distinguishes itself as the only session from that two-year period which is not weighted heavily towards Tyner originals.

Tyner's three originals here are characteristic of his writing at the time, logical expansions on the modal approach he honed in his years with John Coltrane. They are equally indicative of why he ultimately left the saxophonist in '65, with Coltrane's shift towards completely unstructured form becoming too extreme for Tyner's more down-the-middle disposition. Still, while songs like the three-over-four polyrhythmic "African Village and the more rhythmically straightforward "Little Madimba may not feel particularly innovative forty years later, with Tyner ultimately becoming one of the most influential pianists to emerge in the last half-century, they're certainly still compelling enough, as is the up-tempo swing of "May Street.

More telling is his take on three standards. Tyner adds a whole-tone vamp to break up the more familiar refrains of "I Didn't Know What Time It Was, while "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top, pared down to a trio, is taken at an uncharacteristically fast tempo with a middle section that returns to modal terrain. The album closes with an open-ended solo rendition of "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face that demonstrates just how liberal Tyner could be within a mainstream context.

While the ensuing years have proven Time for Tyner to be more of a way station than a push forward, it's still fully deserving of the Van Gelder remaster treatment. It's also proof that Tyner's ability to reinvent standards was certainly on par with his own compositional acumen.


Track Listing: 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.

Title: Time for Tyner | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Troy Collins
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "On A Monday Evening" CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Crop Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Crop Circles
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Born In An Urban Ruin" CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Evolution" CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Luisa" CD/LP/Track Review Luisa
by Matt Marshall
Published: April 14, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.