Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Concert Review: McCoy Tyner Quartet featuring Gary Bartz

Looking frail, but still playing brilliantly

Gary Bartz
McCoy Tyner (photo by Jeff Tamarkin)
McCoy Tyner (photo by Jeff Tamarkin)

McCoy Tyner brought his quartet featuring Gary Bartz on alto and soprano saxophones to the Regattabar in Cambridge, Mass., for two nights last weekend, the makeup dates necessitated by a February blizzard. Tyner and Bartz have a connection stretching back at least 45 years, to Bartz’s appearance on Tyner’s 1968 album Expansions, the first of the half-dozen albums they recorded together through the mid-1970s. (Tyner’s latest recording with Bartz as a sideman, 2004’s Illuminations, earned them a Grammy Award for “Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group.”) The pair of septuagenarians-Tyner, 74, in a sporty white driving hat; Bartz, 72, wearing his matching white hair long and free-were joined for the Regattabar dates by the relatively youngish veterans Gerald Cannon on bass and Francisco Mela on drums. And by a series of packed houses, including first-set sellouts both nights.

The second set on Friday, April 5, drew a nearly full room as well. It commenced with “Fly With the Wind,” one of Tyner’s most recognizable compositions. Tyner played an intro on piano, the bass and drums kicked in, and then Bartz came in on alto for the lead line. Bartz took the first solo as well, bending low and putting body English into it. Cannon followed with the first of his several impressive extended solos for the set. Then Tyner took his turn, slowing the tempo for a spell before wrapping things up with a dazzling fleet-fingered right-hand run.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published