Savion Glover, McCoy Tyner, Jazz Meets Tap at Blue Note

McCoy Tyner
Jazz pianist McCoy Tyner. The Philadelphia native will perform with tap dancer Savion Glover at the Blue Note jazz club in Manhattan tonight, part of the venue's 2nd annual jazz festival. Source: Blue Note Jazz Club via Bloomberg

Pianist McCoy Tyner will have the best seat in the house tonight to enjoy his love affair with percussion of all sorts.

The Philadelphia native will be at the Blue Note jazz club backing up master tap dancer Savion Glover.

“The percussive approach of tap is almost like the drums,” Tyner, 73, said by phone from his New Jersey home. “There are different rhythmic patterns one can do with tap, and there are certain things that people can do with their feet that a drummer may not do.”

Glover’s gigs are part of the three-week Blue Note Jazz Festival, now in its second year. The concert series, which has artists performing at various venues in Manhattan this month, features straight-ahead jazz and acts that also cross the line into pop, rhythm and blues, and folk.

The festival opened earlier this week with an unusual pairing of banjo whiz Bela Fleck and jazz pianist Marcus Roberts. Other artists include the Manhattan Transfer (June 19); bassist Stanley Clarke and pianist-composer George Duke (June 26); and vocalist Cassandra Wilson (June 28-30).

Glover’s gigs this week will spotlight drum legend Jack DeJohnette (Thursday and Friday), who has played with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. On Saturday and Sunday, the age-defying Roy Haynes, who continues to tour and record at age 87, will take over the drum chair.

Roy Listens

“Roy is among the top drummers I’ve worked with,” Tyner said. “He really listens to what” the bandleader does.

Tyner said tonight’s song list will include his classic composition “Fly with the Wind,” the title song of a recording he released in 1976, and “Ballad for Aisha,” which is dedicated to his wife.

Tyner will return to the Blue Note on June 21 with the big-band leader Charles Tolliver to recreate the music of saxophonist John Coltrane’s 1961 genre-blending album, “Africa/Brass.”

Tyner, who became a member of Coltrane’s group in 1960, said the legendary saxophonist’s standards have become a permanent part of his repertoire, along with his original compositions.

“Some of the people who come to my shows are in their 20s and 30s, and then there are the older people who remember me when I was with John Coltrane,” Tyner said.

(Glover and Tyner perform tonight at the Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St. in Manhattan at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Information: +1-212-475-8592 or

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