The Jazzcat

McCoy Tyner Unveils "Guitars" CD and DVD on Sept 23rd 2008

by on Sep.09, 2008, under News, Television

On September 23, 2008
Unveils GUITARS, A Star-Studded CD+DVD

Featuring The Robust Rhythm Section Of


Grace Kelly

“I've never done anything like this before,” McCoy Tyner recently said of his second album on McCoy Tyner Music/Half Note Records, a CD/DVD titled GUITARS. Along with a trio of Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette, Tyner invited guitarists Bill Frisell, Derek Trucks, John Scofield, Marc Ribot, and banjoist Bela Fleck for the studio recording and DVD shoot, scheduled for a September 23

release. “It was great, and each guy had his own concept and own sound

which is very, very important on any instrument,” said Tyner. “You

know, I look for that, the individual sound and concept.”

Legendary producer John Snyder oversaw the project along with executive producers Jeff Levenson, VP of McCoy Tyner Muisc/Half Note Records, and Steve Bensusan,

President of the Blue Note Jazz Club. Said Levenson, “What impressed me

about the project was how seamless the integration was. We have guys

with disparate styles. You have guys who approach their instruments

differently. The beauty of this project is how they all found common

ground with McCoy.”

The CD is accompanied by a state-of-the-art multiple-angle DVD

featuring songs with each special guest guitarist and bonus footage.

The DVD has 3 hours of multiple-angle viewing capability. By clicking

the “ANGLE” button on the remote or the player on a computer, one can

watch the Editor's Cut on Angle 1, all four musicians at once with

Angle 2 (separately in four quadrants), or isolate any of the musicians

and watch them exclusively with Angles 3 through 6.



the guitarists, there was a distinct feeling in the studio of

excitement, awe, and apprehension. “Guitar is a little bit the odd man

out in McCoy's kind of jazz,” said Scofield, who chose to record McCoy

Tyner classics “Mr. P.C.” and “Blues On The Corner.” “For me, just to

get to play with McCoy is a really, really special, and to play with

Jack DeJohnette and Ron Carter – these are really the greats, the gods

of jazz – and I walk in that room that day, I couldn't believe I was

playing with them, you know. I was very nervous, to tell you the truth,

to play with my idols, but I was thrilled too.”



Trucks perceived the chance to play with Tyner as a major opportunity.

“My daughter's middle name is 'Naima,' and my son's named Charlie after

Charlie Parker and Charlie Christiansen, so the influence is there. I

don't proclaim to be a jazz player – it wasn't what I grew up doing –

but it's heavily influenced what I do and it's definitely an element of

it.” By staying true to his own style, Trucks brought a new sound and

concept to “Greensleeves” and “Slapback Blues,” embodying the spirit of

what jazz and improvisation is all about.       



of the guitarists were surprised by the call to play on the record.

Marc Ribot was definitely the most surprised, commenting that he had no

idea how he got the call. “You'll have to ask McCoy, really. I mean,

maybe he was listening to those back Lounge Lizard's records and he

decided he needed that. But it was a nice surprise.” Ribot's nonchalant

attitude about playing on the record is misleading. The only parameters

were 'tonal' or 'atonal.' And so McCoy and Marc got into it – three

short, discrete, unique duets that unfolded one after the other. It was

exciting to see it happen, to hear it happen, to watch it materialize.

And they might be McCoy's most aggressive and focused performances on

the album.” (The viewer can watch the full segment in its entirety on the DVD in the bonus footage section.)



out the record are guitarist Bill Frisell and banjoist Bela Fleck who

provide most of the original compositions on the record. Frisell,

coined “The Phillip Glass of jazz” by Synder and “the most unassuming

guitar player on this or any other planet,” chose to play Tyner's

“Contemplation” in addition to his own charts “Boubacar” and “Baba

Drame.” Equally at home was banjoist Fleck, who brought his furious

picking to “My Favorite Things” and his originals “Amberjack” and

“Trade Winds.” “It was nice,” said Tyner of playing with Fleck. “I've

never recorded with banjo before, so that was an interesting thing

right away, I could feel it, you know it just was great.”     


asked about his recording future, Tyner thought for a time and spoke

candidly. “I think there is always something to do that you haven't

done exactly. There's always that – the idea of what else can I do, and

something always comes up. No two days are the same. So we look forward

to tomorrow cause that's going to be different from yesterday and

today. Hopefully it's a good one!”


who will turn 70 on December 11, is looking forward to a week-long

celebration at The Blue Note Jazz Club in Manhattan that ends on his


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