Time for Tyner
Recorded on Blue Note in 1968, the year after Coltrane died, pianist Tyner plays a set reminiscent of the intense, avant-garde leaning, but still swinging music he had played with Coltrane in the first half of the ‘60s, before Coltrane went too far-out for Tyner’s liking and they parted ways. Bobby Hutcherson on vibes makes the band up to a quartet, and sounds great throughout, but he happens to sit out on the highlight number, ‘The Surrey with the Fringe on Top’: the swing, provided by the risk-taking bassist Herbie Lewis, and the crisp but stinging drumming of Freddie Waits, is unstoppable, while Tyner’s melodic inventiveness, employing a characteristically wide and advanced tonal palette, is propelled ever onwards by his thundering left hand.
Tyner’s quartet set at the 1973 Montreux jazz festival is in the same bag as the intense avant-garde jazz-flavoured-with-Eastern-religiosity that he had played with Coltrane back in the ‘60s, except of course that he was now in charge. Tyner’s startling and intense two-handed virtuosity, with harmonically experimental chords literally smashed out with the left hand to underpin lightning bursts of single notes played with the right, never sounded more impressive, and the other thing which makes this album special is the presence of underrated giant Azar Lawrence on soprano and tenor; his fizzing tin-foil sound on soprano is utterly original. The highlight is the up-tempo ‘Part Three – Inner Glimpse’, on which everything really takes off.