M. Mwamba | Baltimore, Maryland United States | 02/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is perhaps, McCoy Tyner's greatest performance. When I first heard it(back in 1974) ,I thought I was listening to two (2) piano players( playing simultaneously), instead of one. His speed, density,depth,warmth,harmonic,melodic and rythmic conceptions are extra-ordinary.His use of African spiritual, melodic, and rhythmic concepts,along with the blues are incredible !!! His music is other-wordly!!! The major reason I extol this CD above all others is because it's live and you can truly apprecaite McCoy Tyner's playing. Truly Phenomenal !!!"
Hard Driving Acoustic Jazz With Great Depth and Feeling
Talking Wall | Queen Creek, AZ | 06/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set of performances was taken from a live appearance in San Francisco. Tyner's band for this outing includes Wilby Fletcher (drums) Jooney Booth (bass - Booth was a Pharoah Sanders and Alice Coltrane alumni by the way) Azar Lawrence (tenor and soprano saxes - Lawrence is fantastic on both horns!) Guilherme Franco (percussion). I'm calling it fusion because for the most part the ensemble tracks don't swing particularly hard. In fact, apart from the piece titled Pursuit it hardly swings at all, it's more of a driving beat under ostinato bass lines. Pursuit absolutely recalls the music of Coltrane classic quartet circ 1965. It sounds like Elvin Jones sitting behind the traps. The rest of the ensemble work is very much like Extensions - another superb release from Tyner. Azar Lawrence (Miles Davis Dark Magus) more than holds his own on tenor sax. It's interesting to note that both Lawrence and Gary Bartz worked with Miles Davis and McCoy Tyner throughout the 70's. The ensemble pieces are very energetic, soulful yet almost fusion-like in their delivery - but it's all acoustic music of course. The ensemble pieces are filled with great percussion and polyrhythmic drumming. The bass playing is mostly ostinato patterns... he only gets to stretch out in a couple of places but that's ok, he basically functions to anchor everyone else's flights of improvisation bliss. Speaking of bliss, Tyner finds his repeatedly throughout the session, his playing ranges from tender to furious.
The set includes 2 lengthy virtuoso performances by Tyner - In a Sentimental Mood (solo) and My One and Only Love (duet with Lawrence). The duet is particularly beautiful and heartfelt. It reminds one of the later period work that Trane did with Alice Coltrane to a certain degree. It swells with beauty much like the waves on the ocean. Tyner periodically recalls the melody and then tears off on incredibly fast somewhat atonal finger work across the full range of the keyboard. My One and Only Love is absolutely gorgeous stuff and on its own is worth the price of the CD. Beautiful. I'm listening to that track as I write this review.
If you are looking for a good release from Tyner's peak years at Milestone Records then this is a good one to own. Back in the day, this was an expensive 2 record set Now this music is all yours for a very reasonable price
A Progressive Jazz Masterpiece
E. Minkovitch | Montreal, Quebec | 01/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of McCoys best efforts from that creative period - 1970 to 1980. Unfortunaly it is a scarce item, which is getting impossible to find in record stores these days. While never overtly embracing fusion, his works from this period embrace the ideal of the genre - "to boldly go where no one has gone before" (did I get that quote right?), to expand, to explore the possibilities of expression, inner and outer. Although his band uses acoustic instruments exclusively, they play with a passion and freedom of the best fusion players. They blend genres and expand the boundaries of what is known as jazz, while remaining accessible and highly listenable.
The quality and consistency of the performances and recording is amazing, considering that it's been recorded live in a small club. The sound captures the raw power of the band, that could rival any electric fusion group. In particular, I am impressed with the sound of the drums - crisp, full and right in front - just like a well-miked and well-mixed rock drum kit.
The compositions offer memorable melodies and riffs and the groove is just infectious. And as for the soloing, well, few can match the fire of McCoy in flight, but his bandmates do a great job in supporting him, particularly the drummer and the sax player, who is clearly inspired by John Coltrane. It is music that counts."