This is McCoy Tyner in the Blue Note studios five months after his boss of the previous six years, John Coltrane, had died. Tyner had made albums under his name during the Coltrane period, but this set for a bigger Tyner band, including the tenor saxist Bennie Maupin and trumpeter Lee Morgan represents a more radical break from the more orthodox piano trio or sax-led quartet jazz the pianist had fitfully explored since 1963.
It seems only fitting that the initial new release on the latest revival of the Impulse label features McCoy Tyner and Michael Brecker. When Impulse started out in 1960, John Coltrane and Tyner were the first artists to be signed, and when Impulse was briefly brought back by MCA in the 1980s, two of its most important albums were recordings by Brecker. There are not a lot of surprises on this quartet matchup (with bassist Avery Sharpe and drummer Aaron Scott) except perhaps for how well Tyner and Brecker mesh together.
Orrin’s commentary (from his new liner notes): “Although I had been very much impressed by his work with [John Coltrane], listening to [McCoy Tyner] in New York clubs in the years that followed made me aware of how remarkably he was developing. He was, and still remains, one of the most powerful pianists I have ever heard; many years ago having learned to merge that strength with a very personal form of lyricism—an unusual, unique combination. To me, it is this linking of power and beauty—in both the writing and the playing here—that distinguishes Fly With the Wind and makes it possibly my personal favorite among the 17 albums that I worked on with this extraordinary artist during our eight years together at Milestone.”
This live, solo outing by Mccoy Tyner was recorded at the Warsaw Jazz Festival (aka Warsaw Jazz Jamboree) on October 27, 1991. Tyner branched out on his own in the late 1960's, leaving Coltrane to foray further into his extended free jazz explorations with wife Alice replacing Tyner at piano. However, although his prodigious style is well suited to it, Tyner wouldn't record a solo album until the famous and excellent Coltrane tribute, Echoes of Friend, released in 1972.
This set covers the last two years of McCoy Tyner's tenure with Blue Note, beginning with the pianist's Expansions, the first album on which his own identity as a leader-composer-pianist came ringing through. With Woody Shaw, Gary Bartz, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter (on cello), Herbie Lewis and Freddie Waits, he fashioned a new sound, inspired by, but not mimicking his work with the John Coltrane Quartet. McCoy blended modality, Eastern music, African elements and spirituality into a music that was unmistakably his own.