Down Beat (10/95, pp.47-48) - 3.5 Stars - Good/Very Good - "...Brecker ardently keeps pace with the pianist. It's one of the tenor player's most zealous outings in a while....The message is one of fierce pride in the collective virtuosity at play....The pianist's gleeful boogie--like most of INFINITY'S components--has a way of being daring and discrete."
JazzTimes (4/96, p.74) - "...a solid, very respectable account of the current Tyner, his well-oiled trio,...and supercharged tenor saxophonist Mike Brecker..."
Full performer name: McCoy Tyner Trio/Michael Brecker.
Personnel: McCoy Tyner (piano); Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone); Avery Sharpe (bass); Aaron Scott (drums); Valtinho Anastacio (congas, percussion).
Recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on April 12-14, 1995. Includes liner notes by McCoy Tyner.
INFINITY won a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual Or Group. Michael Brecker won a 1996 Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for "Impressions."
Personnel: McCoy Tyner (piano); Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone); Aaron Scott (drums, cymbals); Valtinho Anastacio (congas, percussion).
Liner Note Author: McCoy Tyner.
Recording information: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (04/12/1995-04/14/1995).
Photographers: Donn Thompson; Hollis King.
Few modern pianists have been able to completely transcend McCoy Tyner's breakthroughs in chordal voicings, harmonic cycles and rhythmic/melodic development. Like so many great jazz artists, the road to technical mastery and acclaim inevitably leads to repetition and redundancy, as the innovations of yesterday become the stylistic vestments of today.
Which is why Tyner has always searched for new avenues of exploration and expression. Over the past few years, these mature inquiries have led to some exceptional big band and solo recordings. Now, with the revival of the Impulse! label, Tyner inaugurates this new era with a trio recording that illustrates the depth and range of his art.
INFINITY reflects Tyner's love affair with music from jazz's past, present and future, as well as the greater global village. For a pianist so identified with power and velocity, the charming ragtime variations and abstractions of "Blues Stride" and Monk's "I Mean You" illustrate a more playful aspect of Tyner's art, while the ballad "Good Morning, Heartache," which echoes several traditional spirituals and melodic strains associated with Billie Holiday, balances the rich orchestral dimension of Tyner's concept with moments of abiding simplicity and tenderness.
The joyous Afro-backbeats and second lines of "Happy Days" (inspired by a recent journey to Senegal)--featuring Tyner's gorgeous open voicings and Mike Brecker's heartfelt tenor testimonies--reflect Tyner's roots in (and affection for) the gospel-drenched outlook of hard bop (a la Horace Silver). A fired up Brecker rejoins the trio for a romp through Coltrane's "Impressions," where bassist Avery Sharpe and drummer Aaron Scott distinguish themselves through their tasteful restraint. "Flying High" and "Changes" showcase the resounding lyric dimension of the pianist's art, distinguished by an orchestral conception of lines and chords that serve to confirm McCoy Tyner's place in the hierarchy of virtuoso jazz improvisers.