Jazz legend McCoy Tyner will play in Nashville

Jazz piano legend McCoy Tyner will perform with his quartet on Oct. 12 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Nashville Symphony has announced. Tyner is replacing another legend, jazz double bassist Charlie Haden, who was forced to cancel due to health reasons.

mccoyHaden came to fame for his long association with Ornette Coleman. Tyner, for his part, has an equally illustrious pedigree. The 73-year-old virtuoso cut his improvisational teeth playing with John Coltrane. Indeed, Tyner played throughout all of the sessions of Coltrane’s 1965 LP A Love Supreme, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz albums ever made.

Like Coltrane, Tyner has always been admired for his prodigious technique. Tyner’s solo rendition of Coltrane’s “Lazy Bird” featured piano passages that were so vertiginously fast that would have made the likes of Art Tatum feel envious. And no jazz pianist can compete with Tyner in the octave department – Tyner seemingly carves his powerful chords and octaves out of granite.

After leaving Coltrane’s group, Tyner has focused on leading his own ensembles. His breakout LP, 1967’s The Real McCoy, showcased the pianist as a composer with such outstanding numbers as “Contemplation.” In recent years, Coltrane has toured with a quartet featuring saxophonist Gary Bartz, bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt. He’s also played with Ravi Coltrane and performed solo. His fantastic 2009 disc Live From San Francisco shows a pianist still in command of his powers.

Tyner’s concert starts at 8 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Schermerhorn. For tickets call (615) 687-6400.

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About John Pitcher

John Pitcher is the chief classical music, jazz and dance critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He has been a classical music critic for the Washington Post, the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, National Public Radio’s Performance Today (NPR), ArtNowNashville.com and the Nashville Scene. His writings about music and the arts have also appeared in Symphony Magazine, American Record Guide and Stagebill Magazine, among other publications. Pitcher earned his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he studied arts writing with Judith Crist and Phyllis Garland. His work has received the New York State Associated Press award for outstanding classical music criticism.