McCoy Tyner featuring Michael Brecker: Flying High
Infinity (Impulse IMPD-171)
Avery Sharpe (bass), Aaron Scott (drums), Valtinho Anastacio (congas and percussion).
Composed by McCoy Tyner.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, April 12, 1995
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
This cut and for that matter this album is as much a celebration of McCoy Tyner's fine post-Coltrane work and compositional skills as it is a glimpse into what was the beginning of the zenith of the late, great Michael Brecker's playing. Pushed into a format that invariably commands comparison to his inspiration, John Coltrane, Brecker is at once reverential to the spirit of master, while at the same time clearly defining this outing with his own markedly developed style. Tyner for all his work with the master was always "… laying down a carpet for Trane" as Coltrane's preceding pianist Steve Kuhn once told me in an interview. In this fine and at times frenetic composition Tyner shows he is no stranger to taut, driving melodies that accentuate his trademark cascade of sound and allow an unleashed Brecker the space to soar to Olympian heights. Tyner has stepped up as the leader here and it shows. Despite the inevitable comparison between Coltrane and Brecker on the equally brilliant "Impressions," which is also featured on this album, it is "Flying High" that pays homage to the spirit of Coltrane, but in a language that is all Tyner and Brecker in true musical simpatico. I was privileged to have witnessed McCoy Tyner and Michael Brecker play much of this album at a date in New York City's Iridium nightclub a year or two prior to the announcement of Michael's ultimately fatal illness. His playing on this track is to me close to still having him in all his spirited glory here with us today. This is a must-have Brecker performance.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello