What were you doing when you were 23? What do you plan do have accomplished at 23? What does the life of a 23 year old consist of? For jazz legend McCoy Tyner, the age of 23 meant playing alongside one of the greatest, most legendary names jazz music has ever seen and heard. Fifty plus years later, McCoy Tyner is not only being shouted out by Andre 3000 (see: Sleepy Brown Can’t Wait), but he is no doubtably a jazz legend, and another branch from the fruitful tree of John Coltrane.
Today and Tomorrow, recorded in 1963, is one of Tyner’s earlier album, as it is a great listen all the way through. Not only does the young, gifted Tyner do an excellent job with each composition, the mastery of the Elvin Jones‘ drum kit is a sound to behold. Jones’ abstract playing style throughout is exceptional, and the solos are simply marvelous, and especially noteworthy are Contemporary Focus and the classic jazz tune Night in Tunisia. Although the experienced Jones stands out in multiple points through the album, Tyner gets a chance to shine by himself, as When Sunny Gets Blue is a great solo piece, as the then young Tyner proves his worthiness of keeping such great company. The other players to round out the session were Jimmy Garrison and Butch Warren – bass, Albert Heath – drums (tracks 4-6), John Gilmore – tenor saxophone, Thad Jones – trumpet, and Frank Strozier – alto saxophone
Even though Coltrane pushed the realms of jazz many times over, Today and Tomorrow is an easy, enjoyable listen from start to finish, and it is recommended for jazz beginners, as well as experienced listeners. Although Tyner contributed to some of the most noteworthy albums in jazz history, his own catalog as a frontman is excellent, and this particular album is not only an excellent example of true 60’s era jazz, it is a personal favorite.
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