Night Lights Classic Jazz

Inception: McCoy Tyner On Impulse

McCoy TynerPianist McCoy Tyner joined John Coltrane’s group at the age of 22 in 1960 and signed with Impulse not long after Coltrane moved to the label in 1961. Over the next four years Tyner would record seven albums as a leader for Impulse, most often in the trio format that was seen as being both commercially favorable and a chance to showcase him in a setting different from the Coltrane quartet. Though Tyner’s playing on these records is considered not to be as adventurous as his performances with Coltrane during the same period, Tyner’s style–achieved somewhat by a prominent use of fourth chords, which gave both his and Coltrane’s music a more abstract, serious, and spiritual sound–is already quite present. Some albums find him in the company of bandmates Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones (their Illumination! effort for Impulse, from which we’ll hear Tyner’s ballad “Oriental Flower”), while Live at Newport features him in a rather impromptu jam with alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano and trumpeter Clark Terry. Tyner’s last 1960s album for Impulse, Plays Duke Ellington, was recorded the same week that he was in the studio to do A Love Supreme with Coltrane.

Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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Inception
McCoy Tyner — Inception (Impulse, 1962)
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Blues for Gwen
McCoy Tyner — Inception (Impulse, 1962)
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Sunset
McCoy Tyner — Inception (Impulse, 1962)
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Reaching Fourth
McCoy Tyner — Reaching Fourth (Impulse, 1962)
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Groove Waltz
McCoy Tyner — Nights of Ballads and Blues (Impulse, 1963)
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My Funny Valentine
McCoy Tyner — Live at Newport (Impulse, 1963)
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Oriental Flower
Elvin Jones/Jimmy Garrison — Illumination (Impulse, 1963)

Notes: Tyner on piano; Tyner composition.

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T 'n A Blues
McCoy Tyner — Today and Tomorrow (Impulse, 1964)

Notes: Thad Jones composition featuring John Gilmore (in one of his rare non-Sun Ra appearances) on tenor sax.

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Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool
McCoy Tyner — Plays Duke Ellington (Impulse, 1964)

Notes: Duke Ellington composition; album recorded Dec. 1964 in same week that Tyner was working on A LOVE SUPREME with John Coltrane.

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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Polygram, 1963)

Notes: Closing theme.

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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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