The great McCoy Tyner has died. Aged 81. His family has confirmed the death but not the cause of yet.
Tyner was one of the most prolific and influential jazz pianists of the modern era, best known for his contributions to the classic John Coltrane Quartet (appearing on the albums A Love Supreme, Ballads, Crescent, Live at Birdland and Live! At The Village Vanguard among others).
He also recorded over 75 albums as a leader – between 1962 and 2009.
Tyner is also there in jazz collections on albums by Art Blakey, George Benson, Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson, Woody Shaw, Sonny Stitt, Stanley Turrentine and many others.
He is a crucial element across many classic jazz albums – including Wayne Shorter’s 1964 releases Night Dreamer and Juju and his 1965 album, The Soothsayer.
I first heard Tyner on A Love Supreme – a truly life-changing album for me. I hunted out not only more records by that Coltrane Quartet but also by the individual members. One of my favourite Tyner albums was a selection of Burt Bacharach tunes interpreted as small-combo jazz instrumentals. Just lovely the way McCoy took indelible melodies like What The World Needs Now Is Love and set them in that way.
His early solo album The Real McCoy – is one of my favourites. And Tyner was brilliant as both leader and sideman, fitting in with so many bosses and arranging his own winning combinations (The Real McCoy features Henderson, Elvin Jones and Ron Carter for example).
His playing was always a delight. Always correct. He was an underpinning force that knew how to match the talent he worked with without ever dominating. Such a great touch at the keys.
His music is all through my record collection. And not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and his service to the music.
R.I.P. McCoy Tyner