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  1. McCoy Tyner has died, aged 81

    According to a message from writer Ted Gioia on Facebook McCoy Tyner has died. Sad news, great pianist. Ted Gioia Facebook post
  2. Posting this brand-new Night Lights program in honor of Mr. Tyner's 80th birthday today: Tyner Time: McCoy Tyner's Blue Note Years The show focuses exclusively on his leader dates for Blue Note from 1967 to 1970.
  3. I’m rereading the original liner notes to McCoy Tyner’s Extensions in which he states, “There is a piano player in Philly who probably may never leave; however, his talents and directions had a great influence on my playing.” Hasaan Ibn Ali, perhaps? Can anybody else hazard a guess?
  4. (A special thanks to Son-of-a-Weizen for this week's show; I had mentioned doing a "Classic Quartet Without Coltrane" program, and he proposed a Tyner-on-Impulse idea instead. Also a special thanks to White Lightning, who has posted a link to several archived Night Lights programs in his Israeli jazz forum, and who reports that they've garnered a good response.) This week on Night Lights it's "Inception: the 1960s Impulse Recordings of McCoy Tyner." 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. Tyner left Coltrane's group in December 1965, no longer feeling compatible with the musical direction that Coltrane was taking. He played with Art Blakey for a brief period in 1966 and struggled to remain a fulltime, professional musician. In 1967 he began a remarkable stream of albums for the Blue Note label with THE REAL MCCOY (Mosaic Records keeps hinting that it will eventually release a box of his complete recordings for the label). His Impulse albums, often overlooked in favor of his later Blue Notes and 1970s Milestone LPs, yield an intriguing look at the youth of a modern jazz piano giant. The program airs this Saturday night at 11:10 (9:10 on the West Coast, 12:10 in New York); you can listen live on the web at WFIU; the program will be archived afterwards on the Night Lights website. Coming up in the next two weeks: Oct. 16--"The Jazz Workshops Pt. 1." Progressive 1950s jazz from the RCA Victor label, featuring LPs by George Russell and Hal McKusick. Oct. 23--"The House in the Heart: Lester Young in the 1950s." Late-period Pres from both the Verve label and his 1956 Washington D.C. concerts, along with interview segments from 1958 and 1959 (shortly before his death) and readings from Bobby Scott's essay-memoir about traveling and playing with Young in the last years of his life.