Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

McCoy Tyner Trio

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Pianist McCoy Tyner turns 67 in a couple of months, and you'd think time would have taken its toll on the sheer physicality of his playing: barreling sonic booms from the left hand, stippled knife-edge melody lines from the right, and karate-chop chords from both. Despite the almost unnerving delicacy that also plays a vital role in his music--making his style at once massive and ornate--Tyner remains a power pianist, and like power pitcher Roger Clemens he refuses to bend to Father Time. When he left the John Coltrane Quartet in 1966 he was among the half-dozen most influential pianists of his generation, and newbies have a gargantuan discography to explore--Tyner appears on around 200 recordings, a quarter of them under his own name. But even listeners who think they know Tyner well need to hear his current trio. (In 2004, after more than 15 years, Tyner disbanded his old one.) It features the excellent bassist Charnett Moffett and, remarkably, the second coming of drummer Eric Gravatt. Gravatt, who played with Weather Report in the early 70s, first worked with Tyner on the 1976 album Focal Point, but was out of the scene for nearly 30 years; his fusion of brute force and petit-point grace once rivaled Tyner's own. See also Saturday and Sunday. Fri 10/14, 9 and 11 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand, 312-670-2473, $25.

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