A Dinner Parties and More Extra . . . A Review
Tyner At The Blue Note
While researching things to do for a forthcoming trip to New York City, I noticed McCoy Tyner was scheduled to play at the Blue Note. I knew this might be my last chance to get to hear him play, so we purchased tickets.
We love jazz club venues, and the Blue Note is one of the best. We were seated right next to the stage. The piano was on a riser immediately above us so we had a great location and a great visual perspective.
Tyner’s band played several numbers to warm up the crowd, and then the announcer introduced the headliner. All eyes turned to the back of the room. Everybody strained their necks to get their first sight of him. It took a while for the 79-year-old Tyner to make it to the stage and be seated at the piano. It was a process that required the help of several people.
He looked frail, and with a thin raspy voice he thanked the crowd for coming out. Right away I could tell he was old school in his manner – humble and unassuming. He appeared to not only a be gentleman but also a gentle man.
He raised his hands and placed them on the keys. The first chord patterns were a bit tentative, but he became more and more energized as he got into the song. It didn’t take him long before he was playing complex stylized flourishes and interesting themes.
He’s known for his pounding left-hand hammering out the percussive bass. At one point, because she was seated so close, I became a bit concerned for Dorothy’s safety with that flailing left hand.
The light touch of his right hand gave counterpoint to and complimented the left as it seemed to effortlessly dance over the keys. His style alternated from powerful with lots of volume to being almost understated on the romantic passages. The contrasts from thunderous to reflective were spell-binding.
McCoy Tyner is known for his unique style, and he didn’t disappoint. The program was short, about 45 minutes, but I certainly didn’t feel cheated. He gave us a memorable evening of wonderful jazz music, and it felt good to again be seated amongst New York’s jazz aficionados.
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