McCoy Tyner: Prelude to a Kiss
Prelude to a Kiss
McCoy Tyner (piano)
Supertrios (Milestone 55003)
Composed by Duke Ellington, Irving Gordon and Irving Mills.
Recorded: Berkeley, April 9-10, 1977
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
From the start of his career, McCoy Tyner had a knack for Ellingtonia. A few months before he recorded Ascension with John Coltrane, Tyner undertook an entire project devoted to Ellington compositions for the Impulse label. He would continue to turn to Duke's songs in later years, and his live solo piano performance of "In a Sentimental Mood" from his 1974 Atlantis recording ranks among the high points of his work under the Milestone imprimatur. Three years later he tackled "Prelude to a Kiss" for his Supertrios session with Ron Carter and Tony Williams. Tyner starts out with a fairly straight melody statement that emphasizes the lush harmonies of Duke's ballad, but his solo is a bit schizophrenic. Tyner launches into some of his trademark licks, almost as if he is trying to impose a modal sensibility on this non-modal song; but then after a couple of bars he pulls up and shifts back into a more traditional vein. One gets the sense that the pianist is torn between paying his respects to a classic jazz tune from the past and tearing it apart and rebuilding into a 70s-era Tyner vehicle. The process is fascinating to hear, even if this track finally falls short of some of the pianist's other efforts from this period.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia