McCoy Tyner Quartet – New York Reunion – Chesky

by | Jul 5, 2008 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

McCoy Tyner Quartet – New York Reunion – Chesky Multichannel SACD 334, 74:37 ****:

(with Joe Henderson, tenor sax; Ron Carter, bass; Al Foster, drums)

This excellent Chesky release first saw the light of day as a new CD release in 1991.  Then in 2001 it was reissued as a stereo SACD and below is basically the review of that one with added surround comments:

I’m not a big fan of Tyner, but I am of both Henderson and Carter, and find this eight-tune session a gem both for their contributions to it and the together sound of the entire quartet. All the tunes are quite long; one – Monk’s Ask Me Now – coming in at over 12 minutes.

The opening Recorda Me is by Joe himself, it was on his very first album back in 1963, and it also featured Tyner on piano. So this is quite a reunion after all. It’s a lovely tune and Joe really caresses it through many changes during its ten minute duration. Carter has some great solos, as always, and drummer Foster is very supportive of the other three players. My Romance gets a very lyrical treatment from both Henderson and Tyner’s own tune, Home, closes out the album. Recorda Me is also on a Chesky sampler, providing an easy A/B test. The SACD give Henderson’s sax more presence, the piano more clarity, made Carter’s bass sound more musical and less thumpy, and furnished more subtle details of the various sounds of Foster’s drum set.

Last year the album was reissued again, but as a multichannel SACD for the first time. Several SACD labels have taken their original two-channel masters and derived the difference/ambience information from them in order to create a four or five-channel mix.  You can usually identify this by listening only to the surround channels, which often a less strong than on original multichannel recordings, and sometimes suffer from obvious artificial reverberation and equalization added to create pseudo-surrounds. This release doesn’t have that, so perhaps Chesky was recording in surround back in the early 90s – I don’t know. Anyway, although there is no technical information in the booklet as with most Chesky recordings, the surround sonics are superb and the added clarity is well worth it.  Compared to the hi-res options, the CD layer sounded a bit dull, with the “air” of the SACD; it was almost like a blanket over the sonics.  Once again the piano sounds too big and wide but nearly all jazz piano recordings are like that so I should just stop complaining. In fact I enjoyed the disc so much I won’t say I don’t like Tyner anymore. (Although if I had the stereo-only version I think I would stick with it and just use ProLogic II.)

PlayList: Recorda Me; Miss Bea; What is This Thing Called Love?; My Romance; Ask Me Now; Beautiful Love; A Quick Sketch; Home

 – John Henry

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