The jazz and film industry has lost an icon, as pianist McCoy Tyner passed Friday at his home in northern New Jersey. He was 81 years old, according to reports at Deadline. Tyner’s passing was confirmed by the pianist’s nephew, though he did not state the cause of death.
Tyner was an integral member of John Coltrane’s legendary 1960s quartet and was perhaps renowned for his unique and gentle approach on the acoustic piano, which would later become his signature sound. Many tried to emulate Tyner’s technique in the ensuing years.
A Philadelphia native born in 1938 as Alfred “McCoy” Tyner, the pianist experienced his musical beginnings at age 13, in which his mother purchased a piano for him while trying to establish a salon. Tyner would go on to study at Granoff School of Music before beginning his professional career at age 16 with a rhythm and blues group. Tyner met his match in 1957, when he encountered a stalwart of the genre- John Coltrane- at a local Philadelphia jazz club, which would instantly develop a friendship between the two men.
After recording a plethora of albums with the likes of Bobby Hutcherson and Coltrane himself, Tyner ventured into the film industry where he would compose the soundtrack for The Descendants starring George Clooney and would play himself HBO’s Treme.