Jazz & Bourbon

America’s most influetial living Jazz pianist takes the stage at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California today. Guess who will be there.

I’d have bought tickets for each and every night of McCoy Tyner’s run at Yoshi’s (26th -31st) if I could have convinced my wife there was a compelling reason to see him play six days in a row. While I think I could have made a compelling argument for taking up residence in a Hotel nearby for six days, I don’t think it would have worked with Ginny. So, I’ll settle for tonight.

The wine list at Yoshi’s, which doubles as a Sushi House, isn’t that great. But even if it were, I think the best drink to accompany McCoy and his Quartet of Joe Lavano on sax, Christian McBride on Bass, and Jeff ‘Tain Watts on drums is bourbon. I’ve found a simple double of Kentucky bourbon works perfectly well with modal harmonics and breathtaking complexity of Tyner’s approach to Jazz. Both jolt the inside at once then transition into something quite comforting.

If you live in the SF Bay Area you may still be able to get tickets to the late shows, though the early sets and the New Year’s eve performance is sold out.

Tyner gained fame playing Piano in the legendary John Coltrane Quartet. He’s often said that his groundbreaking style of playing his instrument was developed out of the necessity of keeping up with Coltrane as he would go off on riffs that quite new to jazz. Tyner had to adapt with a new way to accompany something else entirely new. After leaving Coltrane’s quartet, Tyner went on to produce an astounding array of recordings and become an influence for nearly every jazz pianist who took to the keyboards since.

This will be my third McCoy Tyner concert this year, twice at Yoshi’s and once at Rodney Strong  Vineyards in  Healdsburg during the  Healdsburg Jazz Fest. Three times is not enough, but it will do.

Posted In: Personal


4 Responses

  1. Fredric Koeppel - December 27, 2006

    You are incredibly lucky! I’ve been listening to lots of Bill Evans and Horace Silver CDs for a couple of months (and Jason Moran for a sort of youngster), but Memphis is not a jazz town, and there’s very little jazz here. R&B, rock, hip-hop, blues, but not jazz.

  2. winehiker - December 27, 2006

    I once lived in Carson City when Reno’s KOZZ rock station decided to experiment with a Sunday morning Jazz format. Because they didn’t have any jazz DJ’s, they appealed to their listening audience. I was the first to pipe up, and played an hour’s worth of my own LPs that morning. On the playlist? McCoy Tyner!
    Bourbon and jazz piano sounds like the Real McCoy, alright. Enjoy the show for me, too.

  3. tom - December 27, 2006

    Jason Moran is a full-on shapeshifter with his music. I downloaded “Modernistic” Some of it is different from anything I’ve heard before.
    Silver is also a favorite. I listen to “Song For My Father” over and over.

  4. tom - December 27, 2006

    Ah…Good for you Hiker! Though some would argue (and that’s part of the fun) I’d have to put Tyner among the top five jazz pianists of the past 50 years and in the top 20 jazz artists of the 20th century. He’d have to be on your morning playlist.

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