In the May 2005 issue of State of Mind, pianist Marco Benevento shared his thoughts on the legendary pianist McCoy Tyner for the "Musicians on Musicians" column. He made the following statement about how influential McCoy is: "Everyone kind of passes through McCoy on their way to developing their own sound." He also touched on McCoy's unique and innovative musical voice: "Once you hear him, you say, 'I want to do that!'" It's quite the accomplishment to have every student of jazz study your work and, of course, "borrow" from you.
McCoy, along with drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Jimmy Garrison, was a member of the John Coltrane Quartet -- one of the greatest quartets of all time. After leaving that classic group, McCoy emerged as a successful bandleader, prolific composer, and an adventurous improviser, continuously pushing harmonic boundaries, and modal and rhythmic experimentations. Just dive into his discography to see how much groundbreaking music McCoy has made over his career, from solo recordings to big band ensembles, and everything in between. And he's still at it, playing concerts, composing and recording. His most recent album, Illuminations, is another gem in his catalog of music.

First off, thank you for taking the time to talk with me. I really appreciate it.
It's my pleasure.
In our last issue we had a young musician talk about you in a section we have called "Musicians on Musicians." It was great to hear a young piano player give his insight into your music.
I appreciate young players like that. On occasion I get to speak to them and sometimes they have really interesting questions that they like to ask me. I appreciate his comments. Is he from Vermont?
No, he lives in New York. His name is Marco Benevento and he plays in a duo with a drummer [Joe Russo].
Oh! That's interesting. That's really interesting.
It's really cool music that he's doing. The drummer is more from a rock background and he's more of a jazz…
As long as they come together.
That's the thing: they have chemistry.
Chemistry. As long as they come together, that's what's important.
So, let's start by talking about your last album, Illuminations. It's a good album.
Well, I'm glad you like it. There are some good guys on there, that's for sure.
Yeah, you've got some outstanding players on the record. It's been out for a year now. What are your thoughts on it?
Time goes by so quick it's hard to keep track. [laughs] It's nice, though, because making records gives me a chance to compose, try something new, and to also to do an updated version of older compositions. I never forget what I've done in the past. So if there are one or two songs that I really like, and it fits the format, then I'll record it. You know, I'll arrange it a little differently. It was a real thrill to record this album, working with Gary [Bartz, saxophonist] who I've played with quite a bit. And also Terence [Blanchard, trumpet] who has done some stuff with me. It went really well. And Lewis [Nash] has done some gigs with me. And then a buddy from my hometown, Christian [McBride], on the bass. [laughs] He's a great player.
Oh yeah, Philadelphia.
Yeah, yeah. Philadelphia. That's our famous town. Full of history. That's where the first White House was. George Washington lived there, and the American flag was made there. So there's a lot of history. I love going up there. So the guys who played on the record are very nice. It's nice to be able to put something together and make it work. So I was happy with that. It's nice that the Grammy people thought it worthy of recognition. I'm not surprised, but it's just nice when it happens again. It's really nice.
Congratulations on that.
Thanks so much. I think everybody got one, the guys in the band. They were thrilled.
That's great. Do you have anything in the works right now?
Well, I'm thinking. I'm really thinking. Something will be coming up. I'm not sure what it is right at the moment. But, you know, you just give birth to something. [laughs] It just happens. You can't really say exactly what it is too prematurely. Yeah, I've got something, but it's a little too early right now to mention it, but there's something in the works.