JJ 09/80: McCoy Tyner – Passion Dance

Forty years ago, Max Harrison found McCoy Tyner had an unduly limited range of expression but preferred Passion Dance to one of "those 10-LP boxes from Keith Jarrett". First published in Jazz Journal, September 1980

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This was recorded, like so many LPs these days, at a festival, and all the themes are by Coltrane or Tyner himself. As I have said before in these columns, I wish I could enjoy his music as much as I admire his obvious talent. At the very least one can respect its absolute stylistic consistency, even if it appears to me that this has been achieved at the expense of an unduly limited range of expression.

In Notice Tyner, Carter and Williams flail away furiously and at length, but, failing to get on the right wavelength, I am not sure that the sounds, or the fury, mean a great deal. Tyner’s alternation of heavily chorded passages with light, very fast single-note lines seems to me rather obvious, except in the two-voiced cadenza, which I do find intriguing.

Although overlong, Dance is an impressive essay in virtuosity, yet it appears to me far too unvaried in mood. Of course, that is the sort of remark that is always made by people who are ‘outside’ any given musical idiom. Search starts calmly but soon builds to Tyner’s usual fury, and this seems as predictable as the screaming brass at the end of so many Kenton tracks.

Clearly I must apologise for an unduly subjective and perhaps misleading review, yet its tentative tone may be a change from the red-nosed comicalities of the l-don’t-like-this-so-it-can’t-be-any-good approach that some scribes have made achingly familiar. And I would rather have this record than one of those 10-LP boxes from Keith Jarrett.

Discography
Moment’s Notice; Passion Dance (21.06) – Search For Peace; The Promise; Song Of The New World (20.15)
McCoy Tyner (p); Ron Carter (b); Tony Williams (d). Denen Coliseum, Tokyo, 28/7/78.
Milestone M9091