McCoy Tyner


Alfred McCoy Tyner (December 11, 1938 – March 6, 2020) was an American jazz pianist and composer known for his work with the John Coltrane Quartet and a long solo career.[1] He was an NEA Jazz Master and a five-time Grammy winner. Not a player of electric keyboards and synthesizers, he was committed to acoustic instrumentation. Tyner, who was widely imitated, was one of the most recognizable and most influential pianists in jazz history.

Alfred McCoy Tyner was born on December 11, 1938,[3][4] in Philadelphia, the oldest of three children of Jarvis and Beatrice (Stevenson) Tyner.[5] His younger brother Jarvis Tyner was the executive vice-chairman of the Communist Party USA.[6] McCoy was encouraged to study piano by his mother. He began studying the piano at age 13 and within two years music had become the focal point in his life. He studied at West Philadelphia Music School and later at the Granoff School of Music.[7] During his teens he led his own group, the Houserockers.[8]

When he was 17, he converted to Islam through the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and changed his name to Suleiman Saud.[9][10] Tyner played professionally in Philadelphia becoming part of its modern jazz scene.[5] His neighbors in the city included musicians Richie Powell and Bud Powell.[11] He married Aisha Saud, ending in divorce.