McCoy Tyner – Sama Layuca (1974)

Sama Layuca is an album by American post-bop pianist McCoy Tyner, released in 1974 on Milestone. The album is one in a series of rhythmically fervent, harmonically loaded titles that he cut for the label during the 1970s. Joining him on these sessions are a slew of players who made names for themselves during the decade, including vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, percussionist Mtume, and saxophonists Gary Bartz and Azar Lawrence.

On core-cut “La Cubaña,” bassist Buster Williams twiddles in advance of a brisk, Latinized ensemblic onslaught in B-flat. Tyner’s staccato, single-bar piano figure serves as the principle theme, which is doubled-up and deconstructed by saxist Lawrence. Mtume spreads punctual mist throughout the piece, while Hutcherson cuts in with phantasmagorical marimba arpeggios at 5:30. Three minutes later, drummer Billy Hart pummels into the spotlight. In the closing minutes, the chiming of birds whisks the final ensemblic rush out to sea.

A1. “Sama Layuca” (8:35)
A2. “Above the Rainbow” (2:59)
A3. “La Cubaña” (10:28)
B1. “Desert Cry” (4:52)
B2. “Paradox” (16:35)

McCoy Tyner — piano, composer
Bobby Hutcherson — vibraphone, marimba
Orrin Keepnews — producer
Gary Bartz — alto saxophone
Azar Lawrence — soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
John Stubblefield — oboe, flute
Buster Williams — bass
Billy Hart — drums
Mtume — congas, percussion
Guilherme Franco — percussion

Tony May — engineer
Phil Carroll — design, illustration
Lee Friedlander — photography
Brian Auger — liner notes

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