McCoy Tyner, Jazz Pianist Who Anchored John Coltrane’s Legendary Quartet, Dead at 81

Mc Cpy Turner in 1976 (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

NEW YORK, march 7, 2020- McCoy Tyner, one of the most distinctive and influential jazz pianists of the past 60 years, who became best known for his work with John Coltrane’s legendary 1960s quartet, died at age 81.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of jazz legend Alfred ‘McCoy’ Tyner,” his family wrote in a statement. “McCoy was an inspired musician who devoted his life to his art, his family, and his spirituality. McCoy Tyner’s music and legacy will continue to inspire fans and future talent for generations to come.”

Tyner recorded dozens of albums as a leader from the early Sixties through 2009; appeared on classic LPs by Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, and Freddie Hubbard; and earned an NEA Jazz Master honor in 2002. But it was his tenure in Coltrane’s so-called “classic quartet” of the early- to mid-Sixties — the band heard on iconic albums such as A Love Supreme, Crescent, and Live at Birdland — that made him a star. His bluesy, insistent style anchored the group’s rhythm section and provided the perfect foil for Coltrane’s stratospheric flights on tenor and soprano sax.