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MEETING OF THE MASTERS: TYNER-CLARKE-COBHAM

When three heavyweights of this magnitude join forces, sparks are bound to fly. The anticipation and excitement of seeing a trio of this caliber is what jazz lovers live for. And when the musicians deliver a set as spiritually and musically satisfying as this group did, our obsession with this art form is affirmed and justified. Each of these musicians represents the top tier of professionals on their instrument. They make the impossible seem simple and their rapport is simply delightful.

McCoy Tyner’s percussive style was evident on the first composition, entitled Tranelike, his left hand pounding out rhythms that inspired the work of Cobham and Clarke. This selection was followed by about the hippest version of Come Rain or Come Shine known to man. McCoy’s work on the keys was dazzling, not just in a technical sense, but also in regard to the sheer feeling and creativity he exemplifies.

The following number opened with one of the highlights of my life as a jazz fan. There are instances throughout my life where musicians have astounded me with their ability to create something that I could never have imagined or thought was humanly impossible. These experiences are what motivates and inspires me to pursue the art form. There is no other way to define what Stanley Clarke did next. His bass intro was so stunning and magnificent it will be forever etched into my memory. Alternating between thunderous booms and pops, he intertwined the most beautiful Latin-flavored melody that included strumming on the acoustic bass that sounded like a flamenco guitarist at work, jaw-dropping stuff to be sure. Cobham then joined in as the two of them improvised together until McCoy joined the voyage to produce a Latin-flavored music kaleidoscope, which made me ask, How do they follow up a tune like that, what more can they do?

McCoy began with a solo piano piece that displayed many influences, including an early jazz/stride style. His music has so many textures and colors that no matter how many times you have heard him he always has something new to offer. The next number featured the explosive, swinging work of Cobham, clearly demonstrating why he has earned his stature among elite drummers. The set closed out very harmoniously. The previous three selections featured one of the artists. The finale illustrated how amazingly funky and in the pocket, in the groove, three artists can get. This was one of those fun-loving tunes that leave smiles on the faces of everyone in the room. The set was orchestrated beautifully, not surprising considering the conductor and his band mates.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: McCoy Tyner
  • Concert Date: 12/9/2004
  • Venue: Blue Note
  • City State Country: New York, NY
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