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Here i am... From the Longhorn Radio Network, the University of Texas at Austin, this is in Black America. It's gone through ups and downs, and I think that, but it's never been like stock people with jazz and all that, that's ridiculous.
It never does. Everything peaks, yeah, peaks and valleys, you know, but we're able to go to Europe and go to Japan and different places, and the music is still accepted there. And I think that there's somewhat of a maybe a minimal Renaissance going on here, you know, I mean, we still have other music set, of course, more popular, but I think jazz is really America's music, you know what I mean? Some contribution at the Black community is made to America, and it's Black music and it's American music at the same time, and in a lot of culture, a lot of our culture and our history is in our music. Jazz musician McCoy Tyner. Tyner is another member of the Philadelphia Jazz contingent. He was the Moda underpinning of one of the most famous groups in the Jazz Firmament. The 1960 through 65 quartet led by the late John Coltrane. He had the encouragement of his mother, who was also a pianist. Early in his career, he was influenced by Bud and Richie Powell, who were neighbors.
Tyner was leading his own teen jazz combo in Gigging and Philly by his mid teens. He studied piano formally for several years before joining the Jazz Tet, led by Benny Goulson and Art Farmer in 1959. In the late 1960s, he led his own trio, and followed other musical pursuits, including work with R&B and Blues Oriented Artists. He also began to record under his own name. I'm John L. Hanson Jr., and welcome to another edition of In Black America. In this week's program, legendary jazz musician McCoy Tyner, in Black America. he has a great emphasis on his style, which is his first high and strange form of majour ねがに! He has written some notes on his R&B performances while at that time he is young.
Since opening his songs does not have that much sense, Yamaha is physically empowered. What you put down on paper is one thing, but you got to have the musicians, see Duke
Elantan understood that, see that's why he knew the sound and the concept of each individual musician had. So he wrote for his, that's what I learned from you. Yeah, you write for the musicians, I had a song I wrote for Basie, and John Stubberfield was playing ten in my band. And I knew because he got a few strong church background. So I said, well, I'm going to play this blues of John, this is his song in Lord Behold, every time he brazes with that, so you know your musician. Yeah. The calmness and serenity that embodies the music of McCoy Tyler is million and his artistic extension of the inner piece of the man. Tyler possesses the rest of the gifts, the ability to transform human emotions through the medium of those black and white keys, onto a musical statement of delicate beauty. Born in Philadelphia on December 11th, 1930, Tyler always wanted to be a musician.
In 1960, he became a member of John Cotan's quartet, and remained with Cotan until 1965, and what became known as the Ten of Man's classic quartet, touring internationally and recording numerous albums, including celebrated works such as Impressions in 1963 and a Love, Supreme in 1965, throughout the 1970s, several of his albums achieved considerable acclaim and popular success and some winning awards, recently in Black America spoke with McCoy Tyler. I was born in Philadelphia, born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Okay, and give us an idea of your childhood in Philadelphia. Oh, it was great. You know, I mean, I think that America doing that time, a lot of the cities had a great community life, I grew up in a wonderful community. People were concerned about each other, you know, and the music situation was great. A lot of great musicians, Cotan grew up there, John Cotan, and that's when I met him, and
we had, you know, Lee Morgan, and the Heat Brothers in South Philadelphia. I mean, it was a very, very, very vibrant music scene. And when did you become interested in music, at the early age? Yeah, when I was, when my mother encouraged me, you know, she liked piano, she didn't, she was a beautician. Okay. And she liked piano a lot, whenever we'd go with somebody's house, they had a piano, she'd sit down to kind of tinkle with it, she didn't play with it, she liked it. So the opportunity came up, it was in my next, my neighbor, Cotan Street, her daughter was taking piano lessons with this gentleman who taught, began a piano, so my mom said, would you like to take piano? You want to take single lessons, because I was involved in plays and musicals in school. Yeah. So I said, I don't know about singing, but I think I like, I like to try to piano, I think it was something made to my choice, and it just really enveloped me, you know, I really just got involved in, you know, after, it just added so much to my life, that's practice
every day, and I didn't have a piano for about a year, and my mother bought me a piano. Okay. So you were in the band? When you formed the, I formed an R&B band when I was in junior high school. Okay. And what was the name of that band? Well, I become a think of it, I'm talking, we had a band, I don't know if it was McCord Tietta's R&B or whatever, but it was fun, you know, and I was pretty serious, I wanted to show up over here, so they show up with me, I was hot, you know what I mean? And we were, I remember we were in a talent show, in the uptown theater, in the Northville area, and a man, Tanned Morlin, a museum, he played in, you know, Charlie Chan movies, he was going back now. And we were fortunate, because we, at the time, they had a big hit, I'm trying to think Trump on play, I said, Trump on play, they had a big hit, and I had my Trump on play, Memorises Soul, and it's called, it was Blow Your Horn, I think it was his name, but
anyway, it was called Blow Your Horn, it was big hit, and we won because we played that, you know. Who was some of the musicians that you tried to emulate during your early years? Well Bud Powell, the Lawrence Mark, my major influence, I was fortunate, because the power family were from a roller-growing Pennsylvania, and you were on the same neighborhood. Well, yeah, well, yeah, Bud moved around the corner for me, he, he, he, he, he, he had been in New York and played at Mentons and, you know, everything, and then he came to, before he went to Europe, he came to Philadelphia, and Richard Powell got an apartment right around the corner for me, and Bud didn't have a piano, so my mother found out, and someone mentioned, it's just a piano play around the corner of the house, can you practice on your son's piano? So I said, well, who is it? It's Bud Powell, I think. I mean, it's good. Yeah. So I, we used to follow him around, and he was, he was such an inspiration to me, you know, just wonderful. You also played in the early part of your career with, with John Coltrane, the late
great John Coltrane. Give us an idea how Coltrane was. He was, he was really a dedicated musician. Okay. I mean, practicing all the time and working on things, he wrote some really great music, and just playing, playing with him, like, I, I considered like a big brother, I mean, very close. I met him when I was 17, and we, boy, playing, playing, playing with him was just like a journey. You know, there's always something new to learn. I couldn't wait to go to work. Okay. It's just wonderful. And how long did you play with Coltrane? Almost six years. Almost six years. Almost. And who were some of the other side men's that were with you all? Well, the great Elvin Jones on drums and fantastic Jimmy Gasson. We had several drummers and bass players, we finally, the main quartet was Jimmy and Elvin. Was there a lot of improvisation going on when you played with Coltrane? That was a main motivation that I'd been improvising. You know, he didn't write anything down, except maybe if he wanted like an embellished,
he wanted a little something, he said, okay, he'd come over to be on that. I want you to do this right here on the melody, and then after that, you had it. So. In the early interview that I heard today on, on our radio station, you just made the correlation between horn players and, and singers, our horn players just singers waiting to get out. I think so. You know, I give you an example, and when I was about, I think I was about 18, and I was still going to put it off here, it's a time. And I went to see Sonny Ron's, you know, as I met, I, after Clifford Brown, and Matt died, and Max was looking for a piano player, so he asked me if I wanted to go, and I said, well, I'm not sure. But Sonny was in the band, so we became friends. So I went to see Sonny at, at, at the show, at the time, I was, what it was called. And Billy Holiday was around the corner at Pep's bar. That was a big bar, a show bar, you know, a big stage. And so Sonny said, let me, and during break, he said, let me bar your coat, he said, it was the winner time.
He said, I'm going to see Billy Holiday. And I said, okay, and that was my opportunity to beat Billy, and I missed it, because what it is is, you know, singers, and like, look at Elf, it was like a, and her and Sarah Vaughan, they were like musicians. I mean, they did play. I mean, I know Sarah is coming this up, and it's common. So singers played a very, very, very important part, and also Louis Armstrong, and he influenced a lot of singers. Over the years, what have you found that has changed for the better or for worse, particularly for jazz musicians? Well, it's gone through ups and downs, and I think that, but it's never been like, a lot of people say jazz is dead and all that. That's ridiculous. And it never, it never does. Everything peaks and that peaks. Yeah, yeah, peaks and valleys, you know, but we're able to go to Europe and go to Japan and different places, and the music is still accepted there. And I think that there's somewhat of a, maybe a minimal Renaissance going on here, you know, I mean, we still have other music set, of course, more popular, but I think jazz
is really America's music, you know what I mean? Some contribution at the Black Community is made to America, and it's the Black Community Against American Music, and you see, the same time. And a lot of culture, a lot of our culture in our history is in our music. Do you think our young African Americans understand that to a certain degree, or is it our father not nurturing him and giving him a history lesson of what this music is all about? Yeah, well, that's what I'm saying. It's just like Black History, the same thing, you have to teach them, you know, and the same thing with the music, the musical part of the whole. And it's American History too, so it was we lived here, so we contributed, you know, so it's a major contributor to our culture here, because when you go abroad, people say, are you playing American jazz? Yeah, you know, they don't, you know, they know the history, and you know, they know the history of the music, you know, everything, so they studied and take it more seriously.
Yeah, they take it more seriously. Because we're an art form. We're here looking at it every day, and it's just something that's a part of our everyday life. And we take it for granted, I guess, to some extent. And we need to expose the children at a young age to the music, you know, a lot of people, a lot of schools are trying to do that, present programs that have jazz, you know, in them, you know, and a lot of, even a lot of rappers, you know, they know about jazz. They've been, yeah, they're sampling a lot of jazz musicians, I haven't gotten sampled, you know. Thank you, wait, don't say a word. You've played it in a number of settings, you know, you've played it in a number of
settings. But what I found intriguing is the big band, you know, the big sound, an elegant type of music. Why big band? As another extension of McCorn China? Yeah, well, I heard you're going, you know, you have to extend yourself, you know, do it. And I tried different things, you know, I'm not afraid to do that. And I heard, I had opportunity to hear Duke Ellington, Cal Basin, what the hell is band? And, you know, I chance to get to know him a little bit. And their bands were so inspirational, you know, I mean, and then we lost a lot of great
big bands, like Rajon's, Mel Lewis, Gil Evans's band, and, you know, so, and then Duke and Basin. So I was encouraged by a lot of the members of those bands, some of those bands, to form a big band. So they really gave me something to think about, it's not easy, but it's a lot of fun. And writing the different instrumentation for a big band, is that something, is that a challenge for you and writing a different, the horn section, the rhythm section you have strings on it? When you get time, take a look at a score. Okay. And every, and each bar is, you can see what's going on in every bar, you know, and what, when you want this section to be out, when you want this section to come in, when you want them all to play together, it's all on score, you know, on a score, you know, and that's why I conducted a look and he can say, oh, yeah, this is happening in bar, bar
32, bar 54, you know, they know exactly what's going on. And it, but it's a challenge because it's, would you put down on paper as one thing, but you got to have the musicians. Exactly. You see Duke Ellington understood that, see, that's why he knew the sound and the concept of each individual musician had. So he wrote for his, that's what I learned from you. Well, I learned from you. Yeah, you, you write for the musicians. I had, I had a song I wrote for, for Basie, man, this, John Stubberfield was playing ten of my band. And I knew because he got a few strong church background. So I said, well, I'm going to play this blues of John. This is his song in Lord Behold. Every time he braze a loop with that, he, so you know your musician. Yeah. Are there any musicians out there that, that you particularly enjoy working with or only arising to, to do great things in the future? Yeah. Well, what I did is I was fortunate enough to do a record, one of my records called Pray Little Sonata. And I had a Joshua Rabinone and, and, and, uh, Christian McBride was from my, my, my
neighborhood, and, uh, and also, uh, Antonio Hart and, um, I'm trying to thank you also on that. Um, I think, you know, I think I was about it. Uh, oh, it's Smitty Smitty. Um, tonight, tonight, uh, J. Lennon's, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, uh, I wanted to use some of the younger guys, I thought it was important because when I came up, I had an opportunity to play with the older musicians and a lot of the younger musicians, uh, didn't, don't have that opportunity because they get the bands right away, they think stars and two, three months or whatever, you know, so, um, I didn't even, when we were coming up, we didn't think about being, being a star, we just wanted to learn how to play. Yeah. Mm-hmm. And, and, and traveling around the world, what venues you find most enjoyable to, to play in front of? Is it here to America or in Europe? Well, the thing is, it all depends. I mean, what I mean by that, you get an audience here that's, uh, if you get a good audience, it doesn't matter.
Okay. You know, and, uh, we have some people in here that really understand this music, really love it, you know, they, you know, and so, you know, you, you have a great audience here. It's just that when you go to Europe, they, they, they, they, they know, they know the history and they, they, they, they're exposed to it all the time and have these festivals all over Europe and, uh, really, every country almost, and it gets, it's government supported, you know, they, they're financed by, it's subsidized by the government, you know, because the government owns it. They don't have everything yet. Exactly. So, they, they're both educated and they, they know about you when you, when you show up, you know, they, you know, so it's, uh, your opinion on, on, on, on record companies and their commitment, um, to this American art form. Well, I think, uh, the record industry is a business. Number one. Okay. And, uh, and, uh, I can understand the competing with, uh, with a lot of other businesses, you know, and they, they want to be successful and, uh, so they create music, they record music that, that makes them money.
Okay. But, um, we do have smaller labels, um, like my last record was done, you know, on, on, on, no, we're not a small, very small label, but smaller than the big labels, you know, I, I, I haven't found, I wasn't able to find a, a home with a big label. I was with a couple of them in the past and, uh, found out that, uh, it's better for me to be with a medium. Okay. So, I was labeled that emphasizes the art, because I'm an artist, I, I, you know, I'm not, I'm not, this is my life. I'm not out of, you know, you know, I love to play, you know, that's the thing. What's most enjoyable, live performances or being in the studio with your partners? It's all important. Yeah. Obviously. Yeah. Sometimes I like to go in in different situations and like, you know, like, uh, like you were saying, you know, the big band with bird back, right, music, and I was, you know, the experiment, something like that. And then I'll do something completely different, you know, and, uh, you know, I think it's,
uh, so I enjoy recording, you know, I really enjoy it. And I enjoy performing. I think live performances are wonderful, you know, say any, uh, new projects on the horizon? Yeah. There's one that's, uh, I can't mention what it is, but it is one that's coming out and I think in the spring of next year, I'm very happy with it. Being from Philadelphia, how did you happen to escape, uh, the Philly International, Gamble and Huffington? Oh, yeah. Well, Kenny Gamble, he's to play around Philly, he's a pianist, you know. Yeah. They're famous. We'll see. We have some great stylistics and, you know, there's another couple of groups that were very, uh, very, very famous, you know, from Philadelphia. So, uh, uh, it was, it's a great music town, you know, but it has strong R&B roots, you know, I mean, and church roots. Right. Right. Any advice that you give to aspiring musicians out there listening to the program? Yeah. But I think that, you know, whatever you love to do, you know, do it, you know, and spend
time every day if you can, a chance, you know, and find somebody to play with because the exchange between two people or three people or four people, whatever it is, is very important, you know. So, you shouldn't practice them. I mean, you should practice. No, you should practice, but also get together and get together and practice with other people. If you want to play this kind of music, I think it's good, it's the communication between people. It's very important. You should listen in that. You learn respect for the next person, you know, to listen to what they have to say and then try to compliment them and then, and then vice versa. So, it's just a lot of lessons of all the planning. Was Pierre the only instrument you've ever played? Mm-hmm. Right. I used to play incidental instruments. I, I wrote a song called Mode for Delcement, and I played, I, I, I, I really did play it and I, I, I, a long time ago, uh, some guy sold me a Koto Japanese instrument. I kind of, I like it. It's an incidental, but I, I don't really play anything of piano, that's it. That was enough.
And who makes up your group currently? Um, uh, Aby Sharp has been with me since the base, right? He's been with me about 17 years and then, uh, Aaron Scott, um, about 11. Okay. McCoy and Terry, I'd like to thank you for taking time out of your busy morning. Yeah, well, thank you, John. You're doing a great job. Okay. Thank you. Good luck. Alright. .
. . . . . . . . Legendary jazz musician McCoy Tyner.
If you have questions, comments or suggestions asked your future in Black America programs, write us. Also, let us know what radio station you heard us over. The views and opinions expressed on this program are not necessarily those of this station or of the University of Texas at Austin. Until we have the opportunity again for IBA technical producer David Alvarez, I'm John L. Hansen Jr. Thank you for joining us today and please join us again next week. Cassette copies of this program are available and may be purchased by writing in Black America Cassettes. Communication Building B, UT Austin, Austin, Texas, 78712. From the University of Texas at Austin, this program is available on the University of Texas at Austin, Texas, 78712. . I'm John L. Hansen Jr. Join us this week on in Black America.
He was really a dedicated musician. I mean, practicing all the time and working on things, he wrote some really great music. Just playing with him. Legendary jazz musician McCoy Tiner this week on in Black America.
In Black America
Jazz Musician McCoy Tyner
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KUT Radio
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KUT Radio (Austin, Texas)
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This record is part of the Music section of the Soul of Black Identity special collection.
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Copyright Holder: KUT
Guest: McCoy Tyner
Host: John L. Hanson
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Chicago: “In Black America; Jazz Musician McCoy Tyner,” 1982-09-17, KUT Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2023,
MLA: “In Black America; Jazz Musician McCoy Tyner.” 1982-09-17. KUT Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2023. <>.
APA: In Black America; Jazz Musician McCoy Tyner. Boston, MA: KUT Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from