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Posted October 1, 2010
There is a grandeur to the musical universe of McCoy Tyner that wields a power so strong, that it seems ancient, like the venerable stillness of the pyramids. In his first solo recording in almost ten years, Tyner pays tribute to his pianistic peers and forebears, who have provided him both pleasure and influence over the years. What a pleasure for us it is to hear these compositions ¿ all standards save two pieces Tyner wrote for Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett ¿ interpreted by a master of the idiom. Tyner¿s singular harmonic sense and bold articulation bring new luster to these songs, enhancing their familiar contours with new hues, while reminding us why we loved them in the first place. The playful jaunt of Thelonious Monk¿s ¿Pannonica,¿ for example, comes alive with a Gershwin-esque feel, while ¿My Foolish Heart¿ (which he dedicates to Bill Evans) finds a deep emotional core that is quietly breathtaking. And, speaking of George Gershwin, Jazz Roots contains one of the most haunting interpretations of the composer¿s ¿Summertime¿ we may ever be privileged to hear; the blues run that he begins his solo with resonates like a trickle of tears. What makes this recording doubly fascinating is the personal sense of history that Tyner brings to the proceedings. Bebop pioneer Bud Powell, for instance, actually played the teenaged Tyner¿s piano in a visit to his home, and Art Tatum ¿ to whom McCoy dedicates ¿Sweet and Lovely¿ ¿ was one of the first musicians Tyner saw perform live. A word about the sound: Telarc¿s audiophile engineers have captured Tyner¿s immense presence as few have before, making the listener feel as if he¿s sitting on the piano bench with the man. Listen to this disc and hear, not only the roots of jazz, but the tree and all its branches.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.