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McCoy Tyner: Inception

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Arguably, along with Bill Evans and Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner ranks as the most influential pianist to emerge since the mid-1950s. (I’m not saying these three are better than Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea or Keith Jarrett, just more influential). When Tyner emerged in 1959 on a Curtis Fuller LP, he displayed a light touch, suppleness and considerable dexterity, so that his work was reminiscent of Hank Jones’ or Tommy Flanagan’s. With The Jazztet the next year McCoy’s voicings and left hand work indicated that he’d been influenced by Red Garland. Tyner gained attention in the early and mid-1960s as a member of John Coltrane’s group, and learned from Trane. Tyner’s use of fourths and the pentatonic scale was picked up by tons of pianists.

Cut in 1962, Inception is McCoy’s first album as a leader. He’s accompanied by bassist Art Davis and drummer Elvin Jones, and four of the six compositions here are by him. The 24-bar “Effendi,” based on a simple chord progression which reflects a modal jazz influence, the lovely ballad “Sunset” and the cooking title tune are standout pieces.

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