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McCoy Tyner (1938–2020), influential jazz piano legend

by Kirk Fox

McCoy Tyner was a legendary jazz pianist known for his time in the pioneering John Coltrane Quartet. Tyner played piano with Coltrane on his seminal albums “My Favorite Things” and “A Love Supreme.” The innovative pianist left Coltrane in 1965 and would release his own critically acclaimed albums including 1972’s “Sahara” that garnered him a Grammy nomination. Tyner would go on to win five Grammy Awards and he paid tribute to Coltrane on the album “Blues for Coltrane.”

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Died: Friday, March 6, 2020 (Who else died on March 6?)

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Details of death: Died at the age of 81.


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Tyner on his innovative piano playing: “What you don’t play is sometimes as important as what you do play. I would leave space, which wouldn’t identify the chord so definitely to the point that it inhibited your other voicings.” —NPR interview with pianist Marian McPartland

What they said about him: “RIP to the mighty McCoy Tyner. Besides his titanic work with Coltrane, the pianist delivered on countless solo albums. Love the way he comps against Ron Carter’s cello on ‘Vision’ from his 1968 masterpiece, ‘Expansions’.” —Music critic Greg Kot

“McCoy Tyner! I celebrate you. What a groundbreaking sound, a momentous rhythm, a profound sense of melody and harmony that drew me deep into a trance. Every time I saw you play live I knew I was witnessing the…” —Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers

Full obituary: New York Times

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