sabato 3 marzo 2012

Intervista a McCoy Tyner

Quando si parla di iconiche figure del jazz, il 73enne pianista McCoy Tyner è lì con i migliori di loro. Inizialmente raggiunse la fama come membro del gruppo del leggendario sassofonista John Coltrane nella prima metà degli anni 60, ma dopo cinque anni con il sassofonista decise di mettersi in proprio e rapidamente divenne un acclamato leader innovativo.


Nel corso degli anni, Tyner ha potuto suonare con una vasta gamma di musicisti jazz di tutte le età, dal 71enne vibrafonista Bobby Hutcherson al 35enne batterista Eric Harland.
Il pianista Kenny Werner una volta ha osservato che suonare con musicisti più anziani, come l'89enne armonicista belga Toots Thielemans, gli permette di maturare un sacco di esperienza, mentre suonare con giovani artisti come il bassista Johannes Weidenmuller lo mantiene vivo.
Tyner condivide questo sentimento: 
“I get inspired by musicians of all generations as long as they have their own unique voice,” nota il pianista, aggiungendo che ora come membro anziano della comunità jazz ha il dovere di offrire ai giovani musicisti una mano d'aiuto
"I tend to play with younger musicians sometimes because, yes, it does keep me on my toes, but more importantly, it exposes my audiences to the next generation of jazz musicians. We have so many young players coming up who do have their own voice and their own sound, but we have to give them a platform to build an audience around what they're trying to do. The best way to do that is for us older musicians to give them a chance to be heard.”
Tyner dice di essersi trovato al posto giusto e al momento giusto, quando avviò i suoi primi passi nella musica.
“When I was growing up, Philadelphia was a hotbed for jazz – The Heath brothers, Thad and Elvin Jones, Coltrane. You had so many great musicians coming from the same city, it was hard not to be inspired by what they were doing.”
Egli ha anche beneficiato del sostegno dei genitori e di un luogo insolito per mostrare il suo talento nascente.
“My mother really encouraged me to play music. By the time we got a piano, she set it up in her beauty shop, so my friends and I would be having a jam session next to a bunch of ladies getting their hair done! It was a great time to grow up.”
Egli ha anche beneficiato dell'influenza di alcuni dei padri fondatori del jazz moderno ed ha ricevuto anche alcune influenze extra-curriculari.
“Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk were probably my biggest influences growing up, from a jazz standpoint. I used to take piano lessons as a small kid, and my teacher had me playing Chopin and Bach, so I had a strong foundation before falling in love with jazz,” spiega.
Tyner unì le forze con Coltrane nel 1960, quando il sassofonista si stava facendo un nome come avanguardista, ed ha trascorso cinque anni altamente formativi - e non solo in senso musicale.
“I learned so much from John, not only about music but about life. He had so much confidence in me as a musician and looked after me like a big brother.”
Il pianista è l'ultimo membro superstite dei gruppi di Coltrane degli anni '60, in particolare del quartetto al fianco del bassista Jimmy Garrison e del batterista Elvin Jones - con i quali ha suonato in una serie di album classici di Coltrane, ccome Live at the Village Vanguard, A Love Supreme e Crescent.
Tyner dice che il sassofonista ha avuto un impatto duraturo su tutti i sideman che hanno lavorato con lui.
“John set the bar very high. He worked so hard at his craft; he was always practicing. But he was also a great composer and bandleader. He wanted us all to bring our own voice and our own sound but come together as one unit. It was just a wonderful experience for me.”
Nel 1965, Tyner decise che era giunto il tempo di lasciare il gratificante conforto della sua cuccetta nel Coltrane Quartet e provare a farsi un nome come leader.
“John always encouraged me to go out on my own and record. When Bob Theile from Impulse Records approached me about recording under my own name, he was very supportive. After some time, I expressed a desire to lead my own band, and John understood and supported me then, too. There were certainly times when leading a band was difficult, but I’ve been doing it a long time, and I enjoy it very much,” dice.
Quasi mezzo secolo dopo, Tyner dice che il suo approccio alla musica è ancora fresco come allora.
“One thing I find is that I might play the same song two nights in a row, but I never play the same thing twice. I could play my tune ‘Blues on the Corner,’ and it will be completely different tonight than it will be tomorrow night. That’s the beauty of improvisation, and I enjoy that challenge.”
Coltrane continua ad essere una figura onnipresente nell'ethos di Tyner.
“In the last year, I have been working on a project that revisits the music of the recording John Coltrane and [vocalist] Johnny Hartman that I was fortunate enough to be on almost 50 years ago. Wow, has it really been that long? Anyway, we’ve toured around in Europe and Asia and really just had a great time.”
(Fonte Jerusalem Post)

Ecco un video del quartetto di McCoy Tyner che presenta Moment's Notice:

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