In July, members of Vinyl Me, Please Classics will receive Sahara, the landmark album by McCoy Tyner. It’s been remastered from its original master tapes AAA, and comes on 180-gram vinyl with brand new liner notes. Below, you can hear from our Classics A&R why he picked this record this month.
Andrew Winistorfer, Editorial Director & Classics A&R: We have a close, and great, relationship with the folks at Concord, who handle the catalogs of a lot of great legendary labels, including my beloved Stax (laughs). I was doing some poking around in their catalog of jazz albums in about January, and realized they had the rights to this and jumped on it immediately, and luckily the Concord folks gave us the go-ahead on this.
McCoy was the pianist for John Coltrane on his legendary ’60s run, and as if that wasn’t enough to cement him as a jazz legend, he turned around as a lead performer and kept scrambling and reinventing jazz, inspiring entire generations of musicians, and even rock bands like the Grateful Dead. Sahara might be his masterpiece; it’s an album that blends African music with jazz in a very deft, ahead-of-its-time way, and is experimental without being difficult, if that makes sense.
It’s a masterpiece, in short, and we got approvals to do it, and then McCoy unfortunately passed away in March, which brought this great revival in interest in him, both as Coltrane’s pianist, and his solo works, so I’m glad that VMP is able to present this record to our Classics subscribers, because we should be celebrating McCoy Tyner’s contributions to jazz as much as possible.
Natalie Weiner did the liner notes on this one, which are incredible; this is one of my favorite booklets in the Classics line. Captures the scope of the history of the album beautifully. Package-wise, it’s the usual lineup of Classics bells-and-whistles: Pressed at QRP, AAA remastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, on 180g black vinyl.