It seems only fitting that the initial new release on the latest revival of the Impulse label features McCoy Tyner and Michael Brecker. When Impulse started out in 1960, John Coltrane and Tyner were the first artists to be signed, and when Impulse was briefly brought back by MCA in the 1980s, two of its most important albums were recordings by Brecker. There are not a lot of surprises on this quartet matchup (with bassist Avery Sharpe and drummer Aaron Scott) except perhaps for how well Tyner and Brecker mesh together.
This is McCoy Tyner in the Blue Note studios five months after his boss of the previous six years, John Coltrane, had died. Tyner had made albums under his name during the Coltrane period, but this set for a bigger Tyner band, including the tenor saxist Bennie Maupin and trumpeter Lee Morgan represents a more radical break from the more orthodox piano trio or sax-led quartet jazz the pianist had fitfully explored since 1963.
For Now You See It…Now You Don't, Michael Brecker's third recording as a leader, the tenor great used different personnel on most of the selections but played consistently well. Jim Beard's synthesizers were utilized for atmosphere, to set up a funky groove, or to provide a backdrop for the leader. Some of the music sounds like updated John Coltrane (Joey Calderazzo's McCoy Tyner-influenced piano helps), while other pieces could almost pass for Weather Report, if Wayne Shorter rather than Joe Zawinul had been the lead voice. Most of the originals (either by Brecker, Beard, or producer Don Grolnick) project moods rather than feature strong melodies, but Michael Brecker's often-raging tenor makes the most of each opportunity.
This set covers the last two years of McCoy Tyner's tenure with Blue Note, beginning with the pianist's Expansions, the first album on which his own identity as a leader-composer-pianist came ringing through. With Woody Shaw, Gary Bartz, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter (on cello), Herbie Lewis and Freddie Waits, he fashioned a new sound, inspired by, but not mimicking his work with the John Coltrane Quartet. McCoy blended modality, Eastern music, African elements and spirituality into a music that was unmistakably his own.
"McCoy Tyner and the Latin All-Stars" is an album by McCoy Tyner released on the Telarc label in 1999. It was recorded in July 1998 and features performances of by Tyner with Gary Bartz, Claudio Roditi, Dave Valentin, Avery Sharpe, Ignacio Berroa, Johnny Almendra and Giovanni Hidalgo. The Allmusic review by Jim Newsom states that "McCoy Tyner's percussive piano style has always worked well within an Afro-Cuban groove, and this recording provides an excellent setting for him and his all-star lineup to work in"
In late 1961, Impulse Records and McCoy Tyner were each young and getting started. The two came together that year: the label barely a year old with just ten albums in its catalog; the pianist from Philadelphia twenty-three, already a young veteran of various bands and recording situations. ~ Ashley Kahn @ Verve Music
The debut recording from McCoy Tyner's big band features the pianist's all-star 15-piece unit romping through five of his originals (including "Blues for Basie") plus Steve Turre's "Lotus Flower." With such fine soloists as tenors Junior Cook and Ricky Ford, trumpeter Kamau Adilifu, trombonist Turre, and the leader, the ensemble (which includes John Clark's French horn and the tuba of Howard Johnson) had quickly gained its own sound and the results are quite memorable and frequently exciting. Recommended.