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McCoy Tyner

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Information about McCoy Tyner

Profile image of McCoy Tyner

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Pianist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Vegetables, Fruit, Fish, Japanese, Indian Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
12/11/1938
Birth Location:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Pianist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Vegetables, Fruit, Fish, Japanese, Indian Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
12/11/1938
Birth Location:
Philadelphia
See how McCoy Tyner is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Phenomenal jazz pianist McCoy Tyner was born December 11, 1938, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, of parents with roots in North Carolina. Tyner attended Martha Washington Grade School and Sulzberger Jr. High School. Tyner, with the encouragement of his teacher Ms. Addison and his mother, Beatrice Stephenson Tyner, began taking beginning piano lessons from a neighbor, Mr. Habershaw. Later, a Mr. Beroni taught Tyner classical piano. Although inspired by the music of Art Tatum and Thelonius Monk, it was his neighborhood Philadelphia musicians that pushed Tyner’s musical development. He engaged in neighborhood jam sessions with Lee Morgan, Bobby Timmons and Reggie Workman. Tyner was hand picked by John Coltrane in 1956, while still a student at West Philadelphia High School. Around this same time, Tyner converted to Islam.

After high school, Tyner toured with Bennie Golson and Art Farmer, and can be heard on their hit record, Killer Joe and the album Meet The Jazztet. In 1960, he became a part of John Coltrane’s legendary quartet that included Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison. Later, the group included Eric Dolphy, Pharoah Sanders and others exploring themes of spirituality and African identity. Tyner can be heard on Africa Brass, A Love Supreme, My Favorite Things and Kulu Se’ Mama. He also recorded as a leader on Impulse! Records’ Inception, Night of Ballads, Blues, Live at Newport and several others.

Leaving Coltrane in 1965, Tyner played with a who’s who of jazz greats including: Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Gary Bartz, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Roy Haynes, Stanley Clarke, Sonny Rollins, and many others. He can be heard on a number of albums, including: The Real McCoy, 1967, Asante, 1970, Sahara, 1972, Trident, 1975, The Greeting, 1978, Inner Voices, 1990, and Infinity, 1995, displaying his variety and flexibility as a jazz musician. An innovator, Tyner performed with strings on 1976’s Fly With The Wind and with a big band on The Turning Point , 1991. With over eighty albums to his credit and five Grammy Awards, Tyner was nominated at the 45th Grammy Awards for Best Instrumental Jazz Recording for McCoy Tyner Plays John Coltrane: Live at the Village Vanguard, and in 2004, Tyner’s Illuminations won a Grammy for Best Jazz Album, Individual or Group. Like John Coltrane, Tyner strives to elevate his listeners’ consciousness.

Tyner’s energetic style embraces African, Latin, Eastern and bebop rhythms, which he plays in bright clusters. His block chords, pentatonic scales and modal structures have earned him international recognition among the top jazz pianists of all time. Tyner is the recipient of numerous honors including the National Endowment of the Arts’ Jazz Master Award in 2002 and the 2003 Heroes Award from the Philadelphia Chapter of the Recording Academy. In 2005, Tyner received an honorary doctorate of music from Berklee College in Boston, Massachusetts.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of McCoy Tyner interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - McCoy Tyner lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - McCoy Tyner talks about his mother's background and his family tree
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - McCoy Tyner talks briefly about his maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - McCoy Tyner talks about his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - McCoy Tyner recalls the summers of his youth picking tobacco in North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - McCoy Tyner recalls his mother's personality and her nurturing qualities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - McCoy Tyner talks about his father's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - McCoy Tyner remembers his strong, loving family when he was a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - McCoy Tyner describes his childhood neighborhood in Philadelphia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - McCoy Tyner describes his childhood personality and friendships
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - McCoy Tyner talks about his mother's encouragement towards his musical talent
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - McCoy Tyner shares his experiences in grade school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - McCoy Tyner details his musical education in junior high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - McCoy Tyner recalls his early exposure to jazz music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - McCoy Tyner discusses his music schooling
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - McCoy Tyner talks about forming a music group in his teens and meeting Bud Powell
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - McCoy Tyner recalls jamming with famous musicians as a teen in Philadelphia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - McCoy Tyner talks about the musical and historical legacy of Philadelphia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - McCoy Tyner talks about musicians from Philadelphia area high schools
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - McCoy Tyner talks about his network of musicians and meeting Miles Davis
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - McCoy Tyner talks about the musical relationship between John Coltrane and Miles Davis
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - McCoy Tyner talks about his experiences in John Coltrane's band
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - McCoy Tyner recalls drummer Elvin Jones and their friendship
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - McCoy Tyner talks about his musical relationship with John Coltrane
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - McCoy Tyner recalls life on the road with the John Coltrane Quartet
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - McCoy Tyner discusses the origins of John Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - McCoy Tyner details the negative influences surrounding musicians
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - McCoy Tyner describes his admiration for Malcolm X and the Islamic faith
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - McCoy Tyner discusses leaving the John Coltrane Quartet
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - McCoy Tyner talks about establishing his own musical voice
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - McCoy Tyner shares his thoughts on John Coltrane's death
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - McCoy Tyner describes his many successful recordings during the 1970s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - McCoy Tyner shares his thoughts on personal expression through music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - McCoy Tyner talks about touring and the reception jazz receives abroad
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - McCoy Tyner details the creative process behind his music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - McCoy Tyner describes his favorite jazz pianists
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - McCoy Tyner hopes the African American community will continue to embrace its musical heritage
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - McCoy Tyner ponders his choices in life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - McCoy Tyner considers his legacy and how he would like to be remembered