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Born in Philadelphia on December 11, 1938, MCCOY TYNER started playing piano at age 13, with Bud Powell, Art Tatum, and Thelonious Monk as his primary influences. He began working locally with Calvin Massey and also landed a gig as house pianist at a Philadelphia jazz club, where he played behind visiting jazz artists. He also gigged with trumpeter Lee Morgan and saxophonist Benny Golson before becoming a member of the Jazztet, an important group co-led by Golson and trumpeter Art Farmer.
Tyner remained with the Jazztet until John Coltrane left Miles Davis' group to launch his solo career. From 1960 to late 1965, Tyner played a key role alongside drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Jimmy Garrison in the Coltrane Quartet, arguably one of the most influential groups in modern jazz. They released a series of important recordings on the Impulse label, including A Love Supreme and My Favorite Things.
Tyner made his own debut as a leader with 1963's Inception, with bassist Art Davis and drummer Elvin Jones. Subsequent releases included Nights of Ballads & Blues, Plays Duke Ellington, Reaching Fourths, and Today and Tomorrow. His 1967 recording for Blue Note, The Real McCoy, with Joe Henderson, Ron Carter, and Elvin Jones, stands as one of the great jazz recordings of its time.
In 1978 Tyner toured with Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter, and Al Foster as the Milestone Jazz Stars, and when Blue Note was relaunched in 1985 he found himself back on the label. He was reunited with Impulse in 1995 and released Infinity featuring guest soloist Michael Brecker.