Thursday, March 15, 2007

McCoy Tyner Trio - 14/03/2007@Flagey, Brussels

McCoy Tyner - p
Gerald Cannon - b
Eric Kamau Gravatt - d

McCoy Tyner comes down the steps at the back of the Flagey stage slowly, limping slightly in a dapper black suit-black shirt-white tie outfit. A mid-tempo Latin-ish song, Ellington's "In A Mellotone", a solo piano piece and a classic funky-vamp four-on-the-rim tune are rapidly dispatched. Nothing much really happens: the pianist's left hand is blurry rather than florid, Eric Gravatt slashes at the drums as if to dissect them, unleashing a surprising aggressivity even on the gentler numbers, Gerald Cannon's intonation is a bit weird during his solos. It's all foursquare and - though it seems particularly unlikely for a pianist such as Tyner - timid.

The second set blasts off with "Moment's Notice" and barely touches ground for the remainder of the concert. The head is tightly accented, Tyner's left hand crystal clear as he dives into dark swirls, hits the pedal points with relish, thickens and thins the texture, fractures his phrasing to add polyrhythms. A couple of tunes later, another solo piece, a standard I've forgotten the name of, grabs the listener in an aching grip and never lets go. The piano swells, slows and dissolves and, suddenly, an outburst of pathos as Tyner's face contracts, his foot stomps loudly as he seems to reach for something beyond the notes, this brusque rage subsiding as suddenly as it appeared, the melody returning again and again, but always different.

A powerful 6/8 rhythm piece finds Cannon holding down a vamp while Gravatt superimposes and weaves and Tyner elaborates on the massive groove, squeezing rhythms-within-rhythms in the cracks. On the encore, a compact "Night In Tunisia"-style alternation of rhythms, a second reference to Tyner's time with Coltrane pops up, again with a twist, as Cannon quotes "My Favorite Things."