Name: ___________________


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Middle & High School - Reading Comprehension
3.9 Alfred McCoy Tyner - A Jazz Pianist

Alfred McCoy Tyner (born December 11, 1938) is a jazz pianist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, best known for his work with the John Coltrane Quartet.

After departing the Jazztet, Tyner joined Coltrane's group in 1960. (Coltrane had known Tyner for a while, and featured one of the pianist's compositions, "The Believer", as early as 1958.) He appeared on the saxophonist's popular recording of "My Favorite Things" for Atlantic Records. The Coltrane Quartet, which consisted of Coltrane on tenor sax, Tyner, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums, toured almost non-stop between 1961 and 1965 and recorded a number of classic albums, including Live at the Village Vanguard, Ballads, Crescent, A Love Supreme, and The John Coltrane Quartet Plays , on the Impulse! label.

Tyner has recorded a number of highly influential albums in his own right. While in Coltrane's group, he recorded a series of relatively conservative albums (primarily in the piano trio format) for Impulse. After leaving Coltrane's group, he began a series of post-bop albums released on the Blue Note label, in the 19671970 time frame (The Real McCoy, 1967; Tender Moments, 1967; Expansions, 1968; Extensions, 1970). Soon thereafter he moved to the Milestone label and recorded many influential albums, including Sahara (1972) and Enlightenment (1973). His music for Blue Note and Milestone often took the Coltrane quartet's music as a point of departure, but took off in different directions including the incorporation of African and East Asian musical elements. These albums are often cited as examples of vital, innovative jazz from the 1970s that was neither fusion nor free jazz. Often cited as a major influence on younger jazz musicians, Tyner still records and tours regularly and played from the 1980s through '90s with a trio that included Avery Sharpe on bass and Aaron Scott on drums. Today Tyner records for the Telarc label and has been playing with different trios, the most recent of which includes Charnett Moffett on bass and Eric Harland on drums.

McCoy Tyner was also married at one time and has three sons. His brother, Jarvis Tyner, is a high official in the leadership of the American Communist Party. McCoy himself is not a pronounced advocate of any political ideology, however.


Q 1: What's a quartet?
Four friends.
A band.
A group of four singers or four instrumentalists.
A single singer or instrumentalist.

Q 2: The John Coltrane Quartet was made up of...?
A drummer, a singer, and two guitar players.
Two flute players, a drummer, and a pianist.
A saxophonist, a bass player, a drums player, and a piano player.

Q 3: What was one thing Tyner did differently on his own than when he was with the John Coltrane Quartet?
He added African and East Asian musical elements.
He added his brother to his group.
He sang.
He wrote music.

Q 4: Tyner's brother believes in which political viewpoint?

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Question 6: This question is available to subscribers only!

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