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McCoy Tyner in Concert from Yoshi's

Late in 2006, young guitarist Derek Trucks went into a studio with piano master McCoy Tyner to record "Afro Blue," so JazzSet opens with an introduction from The Derek Trucks Band with the same song.

After Christmas of that year, Tyner brought an all-star trio and special guest Joe Lovano to the New Year's Eve broadcast of NPR's Toast of the Nation at Yoshi's in Oakland, Calif. Sales and reviews were great, the band was working hard, and everyone was having a ball.

Modern jazz piano begins with Tyner. He came to prominence as the pianist in John Coltrane's early-'60s Classic Quartet. From the beginning of his career, Tyner blew everyone away with his technique. No one had played like him before.

In terms of integrity, Tyner is the same pianist today. His touch rings like bells. He plays with color, like a big abstract painting, and dances with rhythm. His music remains alive and inspirational, but even more than his technique, his heart is on display.

In terms of energy and productivity, Tyner has won five Grammy Awards over three decades, and in 2007 started his own label. The first release on McCoy Tyner Music is titled The McCoy Tyner Quartet, and consists of highlights from the last week of 2006 at Yoshi's.

As a special bonus, two songs left off this JazzSet episode are available as web extras: "Moment's Notice" and "Passion Dance."

Copyright 2007 WBGO