Just the other day, the legendary McCoy Tyner celebrated his 74th birthday – thankfully one of my Twitter followers reminded me of the occasion, and although I’m a day or two late, I wanted to celebrate the occasion. With that in mind, in 1972 Tyner recorded a tribute album to his friend and bandmate John Coltrane titled, Echoes of Friend. On the album, his rendition of the standard “My Favorite Things,” is as complex and beautiful as Beethoven and Mozart with a brooding contemplative intensity. Similar to the great Neil Young, few others balance raw, almost brutal power with lyric romanticism and stunning beauty like McCoy Tyner. Without a doubt, whenever you listening to Tyner, you’re listening to a supreme virtuoso.
The familiar melody of “My Favorite Things” is de-emphasized and at times buried under layers of chords but it’s a stunning, contemplative song that manages to create the sense of being haunted by a echoes of ghosts. This ain’t Kenny G jazz; it ain’t Taylor Swift or the soulless bullshit foisted upon you as you listen to your Clear Channel super conglomerate. It’s music that requires you to pay attention and once you do, I think you’ll see it as astonishing, beautiful music that makes you consider your place in the universe.
Happy Birthday McCoy!