Picks and Pans Review: Four Times Four
Tyner, the quietly brilliant jazz pianist who first gained notice with John Coltrane's groups, is 41, and most of the friends he's gathered for this two-record set are around 40 too. Tyner, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Al Foster play on all 11 cuts while trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, guitarist John Abercrombie (on electric mandolin here), vibraharpist Bobby Hutcherson and sax man Arthur Blythe each sit in for a side apiece. Hubbard blends in best, chasing nicely (on flugelhorn) with Tyner on the Latin classic Manha de Carnaval, but Blythe's moody work on Stay as Sweet as You Are lingers too. Behind it all is remarkable backing by Foster and McBee. They, in what amounts to musical bull sessions among master jazzmen, add the parenthetical comments and exclamations that keep the conversation so engrossing.