McCoy Tyner Septet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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McCoy Tyner Septet

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With a style at once massive and ornate, McCoy Tyner easily commands a place among the ten most influential pianists of postbop jazz. Both Tyner and Impulse Records came of age through their association with John Coltrane: Tyner played in Coltrane's classic quartet, and the label released Coltrane's pioneering records of the early 60s (an era chronicled in one of this year's best jazz books, Ashley Kahn's The House That Trane Built). Few artists from those days remain active, so to celebrate Impulse artists like Pharoah Sanders and Charles Mingus--as well as capitalize on the publicity the book has received--Tyner has beefed up his terrific trio with simpatico younger musicians. Only venturesome alto saxist Donald Harrison has led an album for the revivified Impulse label, but splashy trumpeter Wallace Roney could, and unfettered trombonist Steve Turre should. Stylistically, tenor man Eric Alexander seems like the odd man out: he takes his cues from the pre-Trane mainstream that Impulse originally shunned. But all the musicians manage to tunnel their way through Tyner's thick harmonies without biting off more than they can chew. a 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $19-$79.

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