McCoy Tyner – Expansions – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

More McCoy Tyner

Expansions

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Both sonically and musically, this is THE BEST McCoy Tyner album that we can recall ever playing! Expansions has long been a favorite around here — it’s got a great lineup (including Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter) and the most interesting set of songs that we’ve heard on a Tyner album.

Drop the needle on the last song, I Thought I’d Let You Know, for the best sound on the album. It’s rich and sweet with a BIG bottom end and a wonderful sounding cello. McCoy’s playing a lot like Bill Evans at his best on this song.

This is another album that’s frequently scooped right out of the bins by DJs and producers who like to sample the funky grooves. We almost never see this one and when we do they don’t usually sound like this, so if you like this kind of music you should jump on it!

We really enjoy the sound of many Blue Note pressings from the ’70s, though to be fair there are a lot of dogs out there too. The reason this LP has such transparency and such an extended top end compared with other copies is due, to some degree, to better cutting equipment. We rarely hear older Blue Note pressings with this kind of resolution, these leading edge transients, this kind of bass definition, and on and on.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Vision 
Song of Happiness

Side Two

Smitty’s Place 
Peresina 
I Thought I’d Let You Know

AMG Review

Of pianist McCoy Tyner’s seven Blue Note albums of the 1967-1970 period, Expansions is the most definitive. Tyner’s group (comprised of trumpeter Woody Shaw, altoist Gary Bartz, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter on cello, bassist Herbie Lewis, and drummer Freddie Waits) is particularly strong, the compositions (four Tyner originals plus Calvin Massey’s “I Thought I’d Let You Know”) are challenging, and the musicians seem quite inspired by each other’s presence. The stimulating music falls between advanced hard bop and the avant-garde, pushing and pulling at the boundaries of modern mainstream jazz.