The trio started off with a medium paced song that Tyner composed and dedicated to Coltrane, Trane Time as Tyner said, To my teacher John Coltrane. They also performed a stirring rendition of Ellingtons In A Mellow Tone. Tyner effortlessly performed lighting fast arpeggios and thunderously huge cords, filling downtown Toronto with a glorious ambiance.
The concert would have been entertaining enough with the trio. But then, McCoy Tyner announced, Please welcome, Wallace Roney, trumpet; Steve Turre, trombone; Donald Harris, alto sax. and Eric Alexander, tenor sax.
The performance took on new meaning with the addition of the New Wave of jazz icons who propelled the concert into the stratosphere. We were off to the races with the first verse of Impressions with the Coltrane tune giving ample opportunity for every player to perform a masterful improvisational solo. Of special mention is the bass solo by Moffett. He bowed, slapped, banged, scraped, plucked, strummed and coaxed glorious sounds from the bass, outrageous and remarkable. Drummer Gravatt was pushing the metre from moment one in a valiant effort to compete with the overwhelming cacophony of sounds. Trumpet player Wallace Roney played some exceptional lines. He has the complete package and is the keeper of the flame when it comes to maintaining the hard bop style of the greats. Steve Turre is one of the greats, in the same league as the great and powerful J.J. Johnson for melodic, lyrical and exciting trombone playing.
The Thelonius Monk tune I Mean You was performed with an incredibly upbeat spirit from all the performers. Harris on alto sax and Alexander on tenor sax trading horn licks were fantastic; these guys were on fire during this performance. Individually they have excellent technique and produce big bold beautiful tones, together they are perfection.
The encore number Happy Days, a McCoy Tyner composition, was indeed a joyous expression of freedom musically and spiritually. Starting in a slower three-quarter time feel and progressing to a romping six/eight feel with all horn players oblivious to any time constraints and blowing up a storm of emotion. Steve Turre, an accomplished seashellist finished the song off with a marvellous conch shell solo. Excellent. A true horn of plenty.
Thank you McCoy Tyner Septet, for sharing your Enlightenment.