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5 Ways To Play Like McCoy Tyner

August 30, 2012

When I was first learning jazz piano, McCoy Tyner’s style had a big influence on my playing. Years later, during a set with saxophonist Gary Bartz at a jazz club in Washington, DC, I was doing my best McCoy emulation when McCoy Tyner himself strolled right past my piano! After the set, he was extremely complimentary of my playing, which made me feel great. Later, I asked him, “How do you feel that so many pianists have copied your style?” He replied, “I consider it a compliment.” Just then, an eavesdropping friend sung her best “air McCoy” impression: “Fifth, fourth . . . fifth, fourth, fourth.” Tyner smiled at her and replied, “There’s a lot more to it than that!” To play like McCoy, it’s important to understand a few basic building blocks of his immediately identifiable piano sound. – George Colligan



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