August 30, 1982 12:00 PM

McCoy Tyner

On the back cover of this album is a little photograph of Tyner with singer Phyllis Hyman that’s reminiscent of those obviously posed, slightly embarrassing Swing Era vocalist-band leader pictures of, say, Helen Ward and Benny Goodman. That’s apt, because while Tyner is only 43 and his jazz is of the Coltrane school, this album has the feel and spirit of the time of the big bands, updated by about 40 years. Tyner gathered a spectacular group of musicians for the LP, including such all-star side persons as bassist Stanley Clarke, saxophonist Gary Bartz, guitarist Carlos Santana, drummer Buddy Williams and Hyman, who, as she proved in Sophisticated Ladies on Broadway, was really born to sing with Duke Ellington. Tyner himself lets them flex their talents. He keeps his piano mostly in the background—maybe too much so to suit the taste of the followers he has so deservedly amassed—though he and Santana strike some sparks on Tyner’s Senor Carlos, and there’s more compensation on the better-than-fair piano playing behind Hyman’s vocal on In Search of My Heart The whole thing makes one wish there was some kind of modern jazz equivalent of those from-high-atop-the-Hotel-Whatever radio shows that used to be broadcast in the ’30s and ’40s,

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