McCoy Tyner with Stanley Clarke and Al Foster (Telarc)

National Records

Record Reviews

McCoy Tyner with Stanley Clarke and Al Foster

(Telarc)

Partly because of the presence of acoustic and electric bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Al Foster, this is among the best recordings McCoy Tyner's done in years. Since 1970, his playing has been repetitive and heavy-handed on many albums. He's still a little repetitive here -- it's a hard thing for a pattern player like Tyner to avoid -- but generally he's really thinking and inventing here. He's energetic, too, articulating crisply but not ponderously and swinging easily. He demonstrates a nice sense of contrast, mixing single note lines, octaves, and chords, and varying his dynamic level effectively. Known for his crashing, aggressive style, he often plays lightly here, plus the tune selection also deserves praise; he's chosen a strong mixture of standards, some that haven't been heard too often lately, and originals. Erroll Garner influenced Tyner indirectly, through Red Garland, but it's interesting to hear on "Will You Still Be Mine" and "In the Tradition" how much Tyner sounds like Garner himself -- close enough that he may be consciously trying to evoke Garner. Clarke and Foster perform wonderfully, the former being among the more high-profile jazz/fusion artists around without letting it affect his playing, which, if anything, is better than ever. He remains an amazing technician, but has gotten to be a more tasteful, selective player. Foster puts on a clinic; he too knows what to put in and what to leave out.

**** 

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