Personnel: McCoy Tyner (piano); Prince Lasha (clarinet); Sonny Simmons (English horn); John Coltrane (soprano saxophone); Frank Strozier, Sonny Stitt, Charlie Mariano (alto saxophone); John Gilmore (tenor saxophone); Charles Davis (baritone saxophone); Clark Terry (trumpet); Henry Grimes, Jimmy Garrison, Steve Davis , Art Davis , Bob Cranshaw, Butch Warren (acoustic bass); Elvin Jones, Lex Humphries, Mickey Roker (drums); Johnny Pacheco, Willie Rodriguez (percussion).
McCoy Tyner proved early on he was one of the most versatile pianists in jazz. His star, of course, rose with his boss John Coltrane's, yet Tyner held a separate identity in the music. His volume on the Impulse Story series is a fine picture of his creativity, discipline, and wide-ranging ability to play inside and outside the tradition. There are 11 cuts collected here. The set opens with Tyner's arrangement of "Greensleeves" used on Coltrane's Ballads album. There are two -- "Speak Low" and "Effendi" -- from his own label debut, Inception (with drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Art Davis); and another pair of cuts -- "Groove Waltz" and "Star Eyes" -- off Nights of Ballads and Blues. The rest of the material is taken from an assortment of records from his own titles -- Live at Newport, Today and Tomorrow, and McCoy Tyner Plays Ellington -- and those of others on the label such as "Blues Back" from Art Blakey's A Jazz Message, and "Oriental Flower" from the Jones-Jimmy Garrison outing Illumination! This is a cogent portrait of the artist from his tenure at Impulse, and showcases everything from the modal technique used with Coltrane to his unique voicings on standards, and his compositional skills as well. This is an excellent introduction. ~ Thom Jurek