McCoy Tyner’s musically proficient family taught him piano from a very young age. This contributed to the ever growing and flourishing style of Tyner. Tyner’s style cannot be termed by a single classification or jazz style. Many artists refer to his style simply as the McCoy Tyner Style. Tyner introduced an entirely new touch to the post-bop genre of music with his exemplary bop chording style and tendency to induce African heritage in American Jazz.
The combination of Tyner’s sophisticated but successful experiments with chord voicings, his blues-based piano style, and the product of his harmonious left hand gave rise to the McCoy Tyner Style, inspiring many jazz players to infuse this melodious style into their music. His much renowned style stems from his early gigs with famous musicians and artists of his neighbourhood.
Tyner’s style of music incorporated the use of low notes of fourth and the fifth rather than the traditional third. These notes were then carried out with great speed producing an unusual but unforgettable melody that managed to entice not only the listeners but other jazz pianists too.
Tyner’s style is also described as a forceful production of a lot of dense, complex yet enthralling notes that take you on a journey of textual exploration. His piano displays a richly percussive and cascaded combination of notes. His work has been influenced by John Coltrane greatly but not overpowered. This is because of Tyner’s inclination to expand his musical horizons by adopting from other continents and influences and assimilating those aspects into his music.
The John Coltrane Quartet served as the peak of Tyner’s career with the production of the most famous and captivating albums of his time. As Coltrane puts it:
‘McCoy has an exceptionally well developed sense of form, both as a soloist and accompanist....He also gets a very personal sound from his instrument; and because of the clusters he uses and the way he voices them, that sound is brighter than what would normally be expected from most of the chord patterns he plays.’
Tyner worked with numerous famous artists such as Bill Evans, Ron Carter, Bud Powell and Art Tatum alongside leading many bands and recording numerous albums. He still continues on his journey to produce contemporary jazz without adhering to modern-day trappings and conventions.