McCoy Tyner: Jazz Legend Plays At The Catalina Bar And Grill


Jazz legend McCoy Tyner played five shows from Sept. 29 through Oct. 3 at the Catalina Bar and Grill.

Audiences could not get enough of Tyner’s upbeat melodies. Some were so moved by the music they joined in on the songs.

The 71-year-old NEA Jazz Master shared the stage with veteran saxophonist Gary Bartz, bassist Gerald Cannon, and drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt.

Tyner has a reputation for allowing younger musicians the opportunity to show off their skills—this show was no different.

The majority of the solos in the show were given to the other band members. Bartz’s playing was especially entertaining. His saxophone told the story in most of the songs. He drove many of the melodies and mellowed out the sound.

Gravatt’s drum beats added playfulness to the show. His solos had heavier breakdowns with more of a rock and roll feel. Gravatt and bassist Cannon together proved to be a powerful force. Together and alone, they created a modal-driven tension and swing-triggered release that the audience loved. The balance between smooth and relaxing melodies and heavier drum beats and piano chords provided the audience with a variety of sounds.

The band also strategically added a lot of pause and go during the songs, thus making the audience anticipate the next sound.

There was something in the show for everyone.

The only negative aspect of the show was that Tyner himself could not be heard very often. He didn’t have many solos and during group songs the other instruments overpowered his piano.

On the first night there were also a couple of mishaps. Cannon said there was a woman in the front row doing a strip tease, which was very distracting.

The set also appeared to end abruptly. Tyner thought he saw someone recording video and at the end of one of the songs he made a speech about rudeness before walking off the stage.

On the whole, the show filled with spirit and virtuosity. Audience members showed their appreciation through standing ovations and cheers. Jazz enthusiasts are likely to be anticipating Tyner’s next appearance in Los Angeles.

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