McCoy Tyner – Cosmos
Cosmos – Blue Note 1976, BN-LA460-H2 (Originally recorded 1969)
On the topic of both McCoy Tyner and outer space, Tyner’s “Cosmos” is taken from a compilation of the same name that collected Tyner’s unreleased studio recordings of 1969 and 1970. That puts it in the period of Expansions and Time For Tyner. Musically, the songs are what you’d expect from that era. Freddie Waits is insistent on the drum kit, driving the song forward even as the volume and participation swell and shrink and swell again. By this point, Tyner has gotten really good at pouring oceans of notes out of his fingers and reducing them to the sound of changing waves. The reeds of Al Gibbons and Harold Vick interweave on 9ths and 13ths and all the sweetly dissonant combinations in between. In the backing quartet of strings we hear the rough ideas for voicings that will be assigned to Alice Coltrane’s harp on Expressions. Blue Note has many of these unreleased recordings from the 60s that weren’t passed over for lack of quality but simply because there wasn’t enough room on the shelves for all their great records to compete with each other. The BN-LA series are generally quite affordable because of their dated looking covers. Even for those titles which had been released previously, the slight difference in sound quality is usually not worth the massive difference in cost between these repressings and the originals.