Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


McCoy Tyner, dead at 81 / A tribute from Bill Royston

McCoy Tyner, one of the great Jazz pianists, died today. Read a tribute by Bill Royston

Bill Royston, former Artistic Director and founder of of the Portland Jazz Festival writes today about McCoy Tyner 81, who died today at his home in New Jersey.

I knew this was coming, but I feel incredible sadness. I did more gigs with McCoy than anyone else. A real master, but more so a truly gentle man. I remember huge concerts on hot summer nights at Penn's Landing in front of thousands amazed at his virtuosity. But it was that smile! His magic was centered around the first time you ever saw him play the piano and the astonishment of his percussive onslaught. Then, there were the tender, bittersweet stories of he and Trane riding in the back seat of an old station wagon from St Louis to Denver in the early 60's, fearing to stop because they'd get jumped by rascists.

I want to call Grover but he's gone! I want to call John Blake but he too has passed! I want to call Jimmy and Percy Heath, and all the others who left before today. I want to call McCoy... and mourn the death of Philly jazz! What I don't want is a McCoy Tyner Tribute band, because there is no one who could fill the piano chair! No one.

Just turn on "Sahara," and play it really loud!

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