Courtesy of National Public Radio Jazz, we travel back two years to join pianist McCoy Tyner with two all-star groups at the opening of the splendid SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco. NPR’s Patrick Jarenwattanon provides background.
Few pianists have been as influential to modern jazz practice as McCoy Tyner. His harmonic and rhythmic conceptions, notably displayed as a member of John Coltrane’s “classic” quartet, are instantly recognizable. And at age 74, you can still hear his driving left hand and dense chordal suggestions in fine form. For the opening of the SFJAZZ Center, Tyner called his strolling “Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit,” with a multi-generational quartet. Then he played a happy blues to welcome some Bay Area jazz royalty: alto saxophonist John Handy and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. Hutcherson has emphysema, and requires an oxygen supply; his entire being lit up when it came time to play with the pianist he’s collaborated with for nearly 50 years.
Tyner’s first group has Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone; Esperanza Spalding, bass; and Eric Harland, drums. Following a somewhat confused transitional announcement by Bill Cosby, Bay Area heroes Hutcherson and Handy join Tyner, along with guitarist Bill Frisell, tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman and bassist Matt Penman. Harland remains on drums. They play Tyner’s classic “Blues on the Corner.”
For news about the second season of SFJAZZ, including artist schedules, visit the institution’s website.
Have a good weekend.