Saturday, March 21, 2020

McCoy Tyner - 1967 - The Real McCoy

McCoy Tyner
The Real McCoy

01. Passion Dance 8:45
02. Contemplation 9:10
03. Four By Five 6:35
04. Search For Peace 6:25
05. Blues On The Corner 6:05

Bass – Ron Carter
Drums – Elvin Jones
Piano – McCoy Tyner
Tenor Saxophone – Joe Henderson

Recorded on April 21, 1967.

This 1967 quartet was McCoy Tyner's first for Blue Note as a leader, although he had frequently recorded as a sideman for the label--with Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, and Grant Green, among others. One of the last recordings produced by Blue Note founder Alfred Lion, and Tyner's first as a leader since leaving the legendary John Coltrane Quartet two years before, the session has a special quality. There's something of the Blue Note sound to the group's concentrated intensity, perhaps Lion's contribution as well as engineer Rudy Van Gelder's, while Tyner, a more conservative musician than Coltrane, was integrating the modal and expressionist forms of the Coltrane quartet into more tightly defined compositional patterns. In tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, Tyner found a true peer, another musician with a strong identity whose style represented a similar amalgam of conventional and innovative elements. Together with drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Ron Carter, they both reassert the hard-bop mainstream with "Four by Five" and the deep blues of "Blues on the Corner" and extend it with the heightened solemnity of "Search for Peace" and the brilliant rhythmic interplay of "Passion Dance."

When someone uses the word “idyllic” to describe a scene, we think of Monet’s Water Lillies or another classic of impressionism – a work in summery shades that pretty much demands a daydream. But there are different kinds of idylls – as “Search For Peace,” one of five McCoy Tyner originals here, suggests. The tempo is slow, stately, deliberate. The harmony, outlined first by piano trills and broken chords, has purpose behind it: The title implies an ongoing and perhaps unattainable quest, not some easily abandoned momentary pursuit. The theme, when it arrives, enhances this sense – it’s at once solemn like a hymn, and contemplative, and also floatingly free. It puts forth an idealistic vision of what “peace” might feel like, and in the same breath holds the full awareness of possible (likely) futility. Crucially, it’s not the jingoistic sloganeering of a peace rally; it’s a meditation on the potentiality of peace, and what it means to pursue it.

Of course “peace” as a concept meant something different on April 22, 1967 than it does today. When Tyner and his group gathered at Rudy Van Gelder’s place to record this landmark, war was raging in Vietnam and the social upheavals over civil rights, race and the fast-emerging hippie culture were simmering throughout America. The jazz community responded to this heady time in all kinds of ways – song titles became commentary, and inevitably the “heat” of the cultural moment informed recordings and performances. Tyner, who departed from the Coltrane group in 1965, evidently felt that there was a need for music that looked inward and invited reflection. In Nat Hentoff’s original liner notes, the pianist explains that when he wrote the piece, he perceived it as outlining a spiritual mission, “the giving over of the self to the universe.”

The Real McCoy is Tyner’s Blue Note debut, and though it starts in a frenzied mood with “Passion Dance,” much of it finds the pianist and composer creating zones of reflection, offering musical refuge from the tumult of the times. Tyner has said that he left the Coltrane group because of its increasingly chaotic dissonance; his compositions here utilize the open block-chord harmonies Coltrane loved, channeled into tightly focused rhapsodies. There is a vibe of serenity in the writing, not just in the ascending theme of “Search for Peace,” but also the gentle, affirmative modal journey entitled “Contemplation” – this album contains five tunes, and two of them are riveting downtempo ballads. The other three are equally poised and thoughtful, and each is defined by its own internal logic. “Passion Dance” is an essay in rhythmic upheaval: Tyner’s spikes and Elvin Jones’ jabs establish an obstacle course, and the challenge for tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson is to navigate the shifting patterns while creating a cogent ad-libbed testimony. (Of the many Blue Note sessions featuring strong work by Henderson, this might be his shining hour, in part because of his patient impossible-to-notate inventions on “Passion Dance” and “Contemplation.”) “Four By Five” offers polyrhythmic daring in a different hue, while the entrancingly settled “Blues on the Corner,” the session’s lone blues, suggests that even this formidable group understood the importance of kicking back once in a while.

The peak statement of Tyner’s solo career, The Real McCoy is also one of a handful of recordings that define hard bop. Lots of records from this genre have interesting tunes and blazing solo performances, but few attain such an interconnected synergy. Listening to these these rich, beautifully realized atmospheres, and how they inspire deep, passionate, strikingly collective improvisations, you realize we are far removed from the anxieties – and the idealistic quests for peace – that governed 1967. That’s a mixed blessing.

After several years of working in John Coltrane's classic early 60's quartet and making himself out to be the premier modal jazz pianist of the 1960's, McCoy Tyner tried his hand as a bandleader. Working with fellow former Coltrane quartet member Elvin Jones on drums, Miles Davis Quintet member and frequent collaborator with Herbie Hancock on Blue Note, Ron Carter on bass, and Blue Note Records stalwart Joe Henderson on Saxophone. Together, they whip up a storm of magnificent post bop as great as anything Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter had recently done on Blue Note in the preceding years and what Miles Davis was doing at the time with his second quintet (which of course included Carter). Tyner proves himself to not only be the premier modal jazz pianist of the 60's, but an equal to Blue Note contemporary Herbie Hancock in being one of the premier post-bop pianists of the 60's. On such classics as Passion Dance (which makes me think of couples dancing in the moonlight underneath a Parisian sky) and Four by Five, the quartet cooks with joyous energy and hypnotizes on the serene ballads Contemplation and Search for Peace (which makes me think of people sitting on an urban rooftop in Manhattan on a clear moonlit night, starring at and contemplating the moon while discussing life). On all these tracks, everyone shines. Tyner's piano work, as playful and lyrical as Hancock's dances around, Elvin Jones either pounds away with ferocious energy as on Passion Dance or gently taps on his drums and cymbals as on Search for Peace, and Henderson and Carter gently sizzle. All the more proof that 1967 was a big, crucial year for post-bop jazz.

Two and a half years after his last recording as a leader for Impulse, pianist McCoy Tyner emerged to start a period on Blue Note that would result in seven albums. Having left John Coltrane's Quartet in late 1965, Tyner was entering a period of struggle, although artistically his playing grew quite a bit in the late '60s. For this release, the pianist is teamed with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Elvin Jones for five of his originals. Highlights of the easily recommended album include "Passion Dance," "Four by Five," and "Blues on the Corner."

McCoy Tyner - 1965 - McCoy Tyner Plays Ellington

McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner Plays Ellington

01. Duke's Place 3:15
02. Caravan 3:29
03. Solitude 5:06
04. Searchin' 4:30
05. Mr. Gentle And Mr. Cool 6:25
06. Satin Doll 4:08
07. Gypsy Without A Song 4:55
08. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) 3:59
09. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) 5:54
10. Gypsy Without A Song (Alternate Take) 6:14

Bass – Jimmy Garrison
Drums – Elvin Jones
Percussion – Johnny Pacheco (tracks: 1, 2, 4, 6), Willie Rodriguez (tracks: 1, 2, 4, 6)
Piano – McCoy Tyner

Recorded Dec 2, 7, 8, 1964 at the Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Tracks 8, 9 & 10 are bonus tracks.

McCoy Tyner playing Ellington is not a bad concept per se, especially with Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones on board, but who thought it was a good idea to bring in congas and Latin percussion? Tyner seems not to be too excited about it either, as he has given more inspired performances.

Released at the time when the bossa nova craze had hit and was waning again, this album became a victim of its time when record label heads thought that a few congas would double an album's sale. They probably even did, but they left us with a rather peculiar document. Strangely, some of it even works, but the few conga-less tracks leave you wishing they had approached this differently.

Thoroughly enjoyable classic jazz interpretations which benefit greatly from Tyner's modal stylings. Laid-back and fancy-free pianistics never fail to grab your attention, while Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison admirably conjure the rhythmic magic of the Coltrane quartet, which had truly become a force to be reckoned with by that time.

For some odd reason (as noted by another person below), the minor-tinged rendition of "It Don't Mean a Thing" and slow and soulful "I Got It Bad", the most enjoyable performances for me, were not on the original record, so be sure to pick up the CD edition featuring those as bonus tracks!

An interesting project that works quite well. The already-distinctive pianist McCoy Tyner utilized bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Elvin Jones, and two Latin percussionists to interpret a full set of Duke Ellington songs (although "Caravan" was actually composed by Juan Tizol). In addition to some well-known standards, Tyner debuted an unrecorded Ellington piece, "Searchin'," and revived "Mr. Gentle & Mr. Cool." This is an excellent outing that displays both Tyner's debt to the jazz tradition and his increasingly original style.

McCoy Tyner - 1964 - Today And Tomorrow

McCoy Tyner
Today And Tomorrow

01. Contemporary Focus 8:27
02. Night In Tunisia 5:07
03. T 'N A Blues 4:04
04. Autumn Leaves 6:02
05. Three Flowers 10:07
06. When Sunny Gets Blue 4:40

Alto Saxophone – Frank Strozier (tracks: A1, A3, B2)
Bass – Butch Warren (tracks: A1, A3, B2), Jimmy Garrison (tracks: A2, B1, B3)
Drums – Tootie Heath (tracks: A2, B1, B3), Elvin Jones (tracks: A1, A3, B2)
Piano – McCoy Tyner
Tenor Saxophone – John Gilmore (tracks: A1, A3, B2)
Trumpet – Thad Jones (tracks: A1, A3, B2)

A2, B1, B3 recorded 4 June, 1963
A1, A3, B2 recorded 4 February, 1964

Perhaps The Real McCoy is pianist McCoy Tyner’s greatest achievement as a leader. The Blue Note album, released in 1967, certainly is a perennial favorite for many fans and musicians alike. On a series of inventive and ‘meaningfully simple’ modal pieces, Tyner’s whirlwind style was totally synced with the interaction between Joe Henderson, Ron Carter and Elvin Jones. The album’s emotional directness goes straight to the gut. It’s got that something. However, the discography of Tyner is filled with hi-level gems. For all their boisterous dips into scales and dynamic voicings, most of them in fact have a conservative touch, as if the pianist took a breather from the intense wrestling match with Coltrane, whose famous quartet Tyner was part of from 1960 to 1965. Titles like Plays Ellington and Nights Of Ballads And Blues offer evident clues. Obviously, Today And Tomorrow, Tyner’s fourth album on Impulse, also finds Tyner realizing his indebtedness to the tradition. At the same time, the pianist revels in his ongoing search for new lands.
The album is divided between tunes with a trio and sextet line-up. The trio includes drummer Albert Heath, the sextet Elvin Jones, his friend from the Coltrane group. Tyner and Jones lock tight, the interaction of Tyner’s hefty voicings and the pushing-and-pulling rhythm of Jones on the modal blast Contemporay Focus is unbelievable. Contemporary Focus comes close to the energy of, say, Coltrane’s Crescent or Art Blakey’s Free For All. How’s that for spirit? The sidemen on Contemporary Focus, T ‘N’ A Blues and Three Flowers, the latter a beautiful melody that dances like a surfer on the waves of Butch Warren’s waltz figure and the contrasting polyrhythm of Elvin Jones, are Thad Jones, John Gilmore and Frank Strozier. Differing textures mingle, each one, Thad Jones’ snappy, balanced trumpet playing, John Gilmore’s soothing and refreshing mix of blues and space oddities, and Frank Strozier’s fervent twists and turns on the alto, equally distinct.

Whether in small or larger ensembles, McCoy is McCoy, all colorful strokes like Van Gogh high on absinthe. Underlined by a dense chordal labyrinth, his rather otherworldly technique creates patterns resembling the running of water, his right hand lines high on the keyboard flowing like cool water that splashes and gurgles its way through the narrow channels of a rocky river, and develops into cascading waterfalls before you can say ‘awesome’. Too much? Can’t breathe? Not taking away anything from Tyner’s unmatched gift, I can imagine. It may just be me. Regardless, there’s a balance of flamboyance and romance in McCoy Tyner’s playing that will intrigue listeners till kingdom come.

Of the trio recordings, Night In Tunesia stands out. Albert Heath’s brush playing is meaty, swift, rivaling the unforgettable mastery that Elvin Jones regularly displayed, notably on Tommy Flanagan’s Overseas. You can see Tootie sitting behind the kit, body erect, arms slightly moving along with the swift wrist that is doing the job so expertly. Today And Tomorrow is a masterclass in musical excellence, intense stuff. A rather indistinct title but a major league McCoy Tyner album.

"Today and Tomorrow" is McCoy's best album for Impulse. The first third of the album is simply incredible, and ranks up there with anything recorded in 1964 (and in hindsight that was no easy task). The first three songs are played by a sextet comprised of Thad Jones, Frank Strozier, John Gilmore (making a rare appearance outside of the Sun Ra band), McCoy, Butch Warren and Elvin. This sextet can hold its own with The Jazz Messengers edition of that year, or any group for that matter. McCoy's two originals recorded by the sextet "Contemporary Focus" and "Three Flowers" are the albums standouts. Unfortunately, the remaining six songs that make up "Today and Tomorrow" are mediocre trio recordings that don't quite measure up to those on McCoy's previous trio recording, "Inception." It's too bad the album couldn't have been all music by that great sextet, but it's worth it all the same.

McCoy Tyner - 1963 - Nights Of Ballads & Blues

McCoy Tyner
Nights Of Ballads & Blues

01. Satin Doll 5:35
02. We'll Be Together Again 3:35
03. 'Round Midnight 6:22
04. For Heaven's Sake 3:45
05. Star Eyes 5:00
06. Blue Monk 5:17
07. Groove Waltz 5:26
08. Days Of Wine And Roses 3:16

Bass – Steve Davis
Drums – Lex Humphries
Piano – McCoy Tyner

Recorded: March 4, 1963.

As the title implies, this McCoy Tyner release is a low-key, after-hours affair. Far removed from the intensity of work with then-boss John Coltrane, Tyner stretches out on a fine mix of standards and bebop classics. The pianist, of course, always had his own fleet and rich way with ballads, in spite of the galvanizing marathon solos he became known for on live dates and his later experimental recordings with Coltrane. His ballad style is even touched with a bit of sentimentality, which thankfully is kept in check by a bevy of tasteful lines. Backed by the topnotch rhythm tandem of bassist Steve Davis and drummer Lex Humphries, Tyner finds the room to develop classic statements on highlights like Monk's "'Round Midnight," Ellington and Strayhorn's "Satin Doll," and Parker's "Star Eyes." On more easeful tracks like "For Heaven's Sake," Tyner utilizes his block chord approach to meditative and romantic effect. Rounded out by solid blues sides like "Blue Monk" and Tyner's own "Groove Waltz," Nights of Ballads & Blues qualifies as one of the pianist's most enjoyable early discs.

Pianist McCoy Tyner is best known for being a member of the John Coltrane Quartet beginning in 1960. During those years, Tyner re-invented the piano as a highly percussive, stirring instrument that churned the waters for Coltrane's abstraction and expanded spiritual solos. For some strange reason, in late 1962 and the first half of 1963, Tyner was asked by producer Bob Thiele to record more straightforward jazz albums as a leader. These albums included Reaching Fourth, Today and Tomorrow, and McCoy Tyner Plays Duke Ellington. But the finest of these straightforward piano recordings was Nights of Ballads & Blues.

Perhaps Thiele overheard Tyner playing standards in the studio one day and decided to record him. Or perhaps he felt that Impulse would be best served if Tyner could play two roles for the label—agent provocateur for Coltrane and elegant trio leader for the older, more relaxed set. Recorded in March 1963, Nights of Ballads & Blues featured Tyner with bassist Steve Davis and drummer Lex Humphries. They were perfectly matched.

Tyner's playing is exciting and exceptional on all of the tracks: Satin Doll, We'll Be Together Again, 'Round Midnight, For Heaven's Sake, Star Eyes, Blue Monk, Groove Waltz and Days of Wine and Roses. On the album, he exhibits a reserved elegance and tenderness that reveals the other side of his personality—a lover of melody and standards. In this regard, there are traces of Oscar Peterson in his playing. Perhaps Thiele was using Tyner to take a bite out of Peterson's vast and successful early-'60s share of the jazz market.

But Tyner's passion for modal jazz and the avant-garde seeps through in fascinating places, addition a modern flavor to many of the songs. Unfortunately, we learn little about Thiele's motive or Tyner's decision to record the album from the unsigned liner notes. What is revealing, however, are Coltrane's impressions:

"Tenor saxophonist John Coltrane has pinned down the characteristics that have given Tyner this ability to reach an ever-widening public—'melodic inventiveness' and 'clarity of ideas.' Coltrane has also pointed out the basic reason Tyner is and has been important to the world of avant-garde jazz: 'He gets a personal sound from his instrument; and because of the clusters he uses and the way he voices them, that sound is brighter than what would normally be expected from most of the chord patterns he plays.' "

Perfect coffee table albums, often from artists from which this kind of music was not entirely expected.

McCoy Tyner's Nights of Ballads & Blues is such an album: it's polished, it's slick, it's above all extremely elegant and stylish, and it has really very little in common with the music that Tyner recorded at the time with John Coltrane, or indeed with anything that he recorded later for Blue Note or Milestone.

"Satin Doll" is Ellingtonian to the extreme; "Round Midnight" is bar jazz at its most sophisticated, and the other tracks fit in seamlessly into this set of classy jazz standards. This is not a bad thing at all; it's just surprising to hear Tyner in this context. Unlike the later  McCoy Tyner Plays Ellington, which seems both forced and bland, Nights of Ballads & Blues sparkles and is enjoyable from start to finish. It may not be Tyner's most advanced recording (in fact, it is probably anything but), but it's certainly good fun.

McCoy Tyner - 1963 - Live At Newport

McCoy Tyner
Live At Newport

01. Newport Romp 7:38
02. My Funny Valentine 7:58
03. All Of You 6:20
04. Monk's Blues 6:50
05. Woody'n You 8:55

Alto Saxophone – Charlie Mariano
Bass – Bob Cranshaw
Drums – Mickey Roker
Piano – McCoy Tyner
Trumpet – Clark Terry (tracks: A1, A2, B2)
Recorded at New Port Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island, July5, 1963

Live at Newport was the first live recording McCoy Tyner led, and it happened to be among his most memorable dates for Impulse, but like many memorable sessions, it was the end result of equal parts planning, spontaneity, and talent. According to Willis Conover's original liner notes, Tyner was worn out from playing Montreal the night before, and he was paired with three musicians he'd never played with before (trumpeter Clark Terry, alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano, and bassist Bob Cranshaw), two of who were using borrowed instruments. Given such chaotic circumstances, it's not surprising that the quintet (also featuring drummer Mickey Roker, a former colleague of Tyner's) chose to play two standards, plus Tyner's "Monk's Blues," Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'n' You," and the improvised opening jam, "Newport Romp." What is a surprise is that not only does the group hold together, but they excel. They sound empathetic, as if they've played many times before, yet there are enough sparks to signal that they're still unsure of what the other will play. The results are thoroughly compelling and unpredictable, even when it's just a Tyner showcase, like "Monk's Blues." Essentially a solo showcase with support from Cranshaw and Roker, Tyner really pushes on this number, beginning it as a Monk homage and pushing it to continually inventive territory. It's the riskiest playing on the record from Tyner, but just because Live at Newport isn't as risky as his work with Coltrane during the early '60s doesn't mean it's limp or complacent. It's straight-ahead hard bop in the best possible sense -- accessible but stimulating, engaging and vibrant from beginning to end.

Newcomers and casual jazz fans will associate McCoy Tyner only with John Coltrane's classic 1960's quartet, but his discography is full of some phenomenal albums he made as a leader throughout the 1960's and 1970's. Live At Newport is no exception, it's a stimulating performance with Tyner and company firing on all cylinders at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1963. Three of the tracks are performed by a quintet (with Clark Terry and the now obscure Charlie Mariano on the brass) and two feature just the trio of Tyner, Bob Cranshaw and Mickey Roker.

The quintet tracks are pure hard bop nirvana, with tons of energy and a driving rhythm section led by Tyner's outsize talents. The liner notes tell us that Tyner was not only nearly too exhausted to play the afternoon set (having played Montreal till the wee hours the night before), but the group put together by Bob Thiele had two guys (Mariano and Cranshaw) that Tyner had never played with before. The bluesy opening number "Newport Romp" (listen above) is worth the price of admission alone, and is all the more impressive given the fact that the quintet made it up on the spot. The trio performances are upbeat and excellent, with lots of symbiotic playing between the three players, and let's us hear Tyner in a setting that he's not necessarily known for, but one that he excels at.

McCoy Tyner was a busy man when this album was recorded in 1963. Earlier that year in March he would record John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Impulse! A-40) and just a month before Live At Newport he was at Rudy Van Gelder's studio to play on Joe Henderson's ultra-classic Page One (Blue Note BLP 4140). To end out the year, in October and November, Tyner would take part in yet another classic album in the form of Coltrane's Live At Birdland. That he had the energy and drive to excel on these sessions and lead his own is a testament to the creativity that was obviously oozing from his fingertips. While many jazz players hope to record one recording with some lasting power, Tyner managed to play on four in the course of one year. Amazing.

McCoy Tyner - 1962 - Reaching Fourth

McCoy Tyner 
Reaching Fourth

01. Reaching Fourth 4:14
02. Goodbye 5:40
03. Theme For Ernie 5:55
04. Blues Back 7:34
05. Old Devil Moon (From Finian's Rainbow) 7:25
06. Have You Met Miss Jones 4:09

Bass – Henry Grimes
Drums – Roy Haynes
Piano – McCoy Tyner

Recorded on November 14, 1962.

Coltrane & Monk first played together April 16, 1957 on the tune "Monk's Mood" and in June and July of that year for nine more songs which have all been issued on Monk's Complete Riverside sessions. Coltrane only played live during the rest of this time with Monk (July 18 till December 16 1957). Oddly enough Roy Haynes & Coltrane first played together September 11, 1958 at the Five Spot, NYC when both Coltrane and Haynes sat in the Thelonious Monk Quartet for five tunes, now issued on Thelonious Monk's Complete Blue Note Recordings (Disc 4). This single performance and Tyner's album REACHING FOURTH must have made an impression, as Coltrane would enlist Haynes later. As for Tyner & Coltrane, they first played together June 27, 1960 in a Coltrane led Quartet which appeared at the Jazz Gallery, NYC for 2 shows and the Showboat in Philly for 4 shows the next month; all of which are unreleased as commercial products. Tyner & Coltrane's first studio session together was September 8, 1960 at United Recorders in Los Angeles; producing "Mr Day (aka One And Four)," "Exotica" & "Like Sonny (aka Simple Like)" for Roulette. Their next session, which was their first together for Atlantic, and also the first time Tyner & Elvin Jones played together with Coltrane was on October 21, 1960 for the songs "Village Blues" and "My Favorite Things". And finally, it wasn't until November 2, 1961 that Tyner and Haynes first played together for what is now Coltrane's The Complete Village Vanguard sessions, but strangely enough only on the first song of the night "Chasin' Another Trane," after which Haynes is replaced by Elvin Jones. Tyner plays for a total of 5 songs, comping on only the first with Haynes. As a side note, Tyner & Workman first played together when Workman joined the Africa Brass session on May 23, 1961. So, to sum up; REACHING FOURTH is the first studio session Tyner & Haynes ever recorded together, though they had played one song together at the Village Vanguard previously and would continue to work together in the Coltrane Quartet later whenever Elvin was unavailable. I hope this elucidates, rather than further confuses Jazzophiles.

This album is quite interesting as many of McCoy's non-Trane features (both as a leader and sideman) usually featured Elvin Jones on drums and Reggie Workman (both Coltrane alumnus) or Ron Carter on bass, while Reaching Fourth has a different trio format. What we have here is part of Roy Haynes's working group, Roy Haynes on drums and henry Grimes on bass. Although Haynes and Tyner played together in the John Coltrane Quartet (when Elvin was unavailable) it is quite interesting to hear the strikingly different interaction between the three. The difference here probably lies in the fact that Coltrane was looking for someone (Haynes) to replace Elvin, while with McCoy in charge, he seems to be looking for a whole new and different "group" experience. The members of the trio all play strong here and have pleanty of solo space where they shine... Highly fun and recommended, especially the first song, Reaching Fourth, a McCoy Tyner original which has some extrodinarily high quality soloing by both Haynes and Grimes.

Pianist McCoy Tyner's second set as a leader has as of 1996 not been reissued on CD. Featured in a trio with bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Roy Haynes, Tyner performs two of his originals ("Reaching Fourth" and "Blues Back") plus three standards and "Theme For Ernie." One of the two most original and influential pianists to fully emerge in the 1960s (along with Bill Evans), McCoy Tyner's unique chord voicings and ease at playing creatively over vamps pushed the evolution of jazz piano forward quite a bit. This outing, although not as intense as his work with the John Coltrane Quartet, is generally memorable and still sounds quite viable almost 60 years later.