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Blog // Artistry
September 5, 2008

McCoy Tyner In Hong Kong

Last night we had the chance to see McCoy Tyner in concert at Hong Kong City Hall. In my experience, City Hall is the best concert venue for jazz in Hong Kong and last night was a rare priveedge as Tyner is one of the true living legends of Jazz. The concert itself was short. […]

Last night we had the chance to see McCoy Tyner in concert at Hong Kong City Hall. In my experience, City Hall is the best concert venue for jazz in Hong Kong and last night was a rare priveedge as Tyner is one of the true living legends of Jazz.

The concert itself was short. Advertised as an hour and fifteen, it ran a little over that, but included breaks for the band walking on and off during encores. It’s a small complaint I know, but with a group this talented there are so many songs and styles they could have covered, it felt like all we got was a taste, not a full meal. Still, leave them wanting more is the old saying…

Tyner’s improvisation was less expansive than it might once have been, but his rythmnic foundation and the soaring beauty of his chordwork were on full display. Tyner really is a musician who has contributed to the vocabulary of Jazz and last night he showed us what that was all about. He also brought with him an impressive, dynamic and musically interconnected band.

Gerald Cannon was a familar voice on the bass, having played with Roy Hargrove, Elvin Jones, Branford Marsalis and others. His playing was a controlled mix of soldiity and playfulness. Eric Kamau Gravatt was a new name to me on drums. However his directness, imagination and abilty to evoke a wide pallete of sounds from a basic kit was captivating. I will be hunting down some of his recordings.

But, in many ways the night belonged to trumpeter Christian Scott, who is one of the most dazzling young stars in contemporary jazz. He was respectful throughout, sharing the limelight, clearly tuning into Tyner’s voicings and even taking time to move a misplaced microphone on Tyner’s piano.
That said, Scott’s playing was regal, referencing the tradition of bebop without falling back on licks, working the whole range of the trumpet, including extended passages in the lower registers and maintaiing a high level of articulation and intensity. There’s now doubt that the next time Scott visits Hong Kong he will be headlining in his own right.

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