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McCoy Tyner: Guitars

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Guitars, a CD/DVD set featuring collaborations be-tween McCoy Tyner and five “guitarists” (one is banjoist Béla Fleck), is perhaps the most curious addition to the pianist’s catalog in recent memory. Tyner has played alongside guitar players at different times throughout his career, in both leader and sideman capacities, ranging in quality from the Carlos Santana-assisted, bizarrely commercial Looking Out from 1982 to Matador and Solid, a pair of terrific Grant Green sessions recorded in 1964 but thrown in the Stateside vaults for decades. (Those not familiar with these recordings are forgiven: Tyner’s work in the piano-trio format and with one very forward-thinking saxophonist from North Carolina tend to eclipse all else.)

This new project rests squarely between the extremes of Santana and Green: None of the proceedings sounds as forced as the Carlos ordeal, but the tracks lack the timeless organic fortitude of the Green sessions. (I know, I know-that’s unfair, a nostalgic pipe dream.) It’s the kind of producers’ baby that isn’t revelatory but is surely worth hearing, a fun set that should sell decently based on guitarists’ piqued curiosity alone.

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