McCoy Tyner – Illuminations

McCoy Tyner
(Telarc – 2004)
by John Thompson

Many know that McCoy Tyner was an important pianist in John Coltrane’s most well-known band. What many may not know is that Tyner is still making top-notch music, like this latest release. The music is varied and even the avid serious listener will find fun moments. This all-star quintet consists of veterans Tyner and Gary Bartz(S), and stellar fellas Lewis Nash(D), Christian McBride(B), and Terence Blanchard(T).Two covered songs, “If I Should Lose You” and “Come Rain or Come Shine” are performed in a moderate swing that will not disappoint those familiar with the slower tempos. “New Orleans Stomp” will unintentionally start a street parade and transfer to a house party. My favorite is “Soulstice”, which has hot sauce tempo that forces one to display the technical mastery of their instruments.

The more laid back Bartz seems to bring mastery in displaying possibilities that the music can travel. Blanchard is crystal clear with his sound and phrasing. McBride, who may be the most versatile bassist around, always sounds knowledgeable beyond his years and keeps it going on every track. Tyner is the centerpiece for the group, buffering the styles and showing his known versatility. Lewis Nash? He jumped on this one. He’s got so much stuff with him that it makes me wonder if any drummers have heard this cd and decided to put their sticks down for good.

People, people. – – 4-½ stars.