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From the Stacks: McCoy Tyner – Looking Out

(Columbia – FC 38053, 1982 🇺🇸)

Recorded at the Power Station in NYC and Larrabee Sound Studios in Florida, McCoy brings his output into the 80s with plenty of pop pleasure and pure production magic. Though, there's still very much a feeling - and a groove - leftover from the late 70's on this disc. McCoy's piano sounds excellent: it's natural, organic, muscular, and even a bit exciting; his jazz prowess adds an irresistible element to the album's poppier tracks. Vocalist, Phyllis Hyman, gives it all she’s got on the tunes requiring vocals.

Some of the mix might be a little off-kilter. Buddy Williams' drum tracks would have done well to inhabit a bit more of the sonic foreground, especially on the heavy hitting "Hannibal". The same might be said for some of the horn parts. Weird, also, is the energy of many of the performances; they are seemingly at once on fire and then a bit lost; uneven, even unsure.

Plenty of McCoy’s pals drop by here: particularly Stanley Clarke who holds down the bass responsibilities with movement and gusto and Carlos Santana playing guitar on four tracks, and who does some arranging on the album as well. "Señor Carlos" is a standout because of the dynamism of the players which comes into focus at its best in this track, plus Carlos' tone. The tone.

This original pressing is clean, quiet and well-centered; a great pressing effort from Columbia. And - if you want to hear the album - you'll have to either find an original pressing like this one, or perhaps the CD reissue from 2006, or the Japanese CD reissue from 2015. Looking for vinyl? It hasn't seen a reissue since its release in '82. Maybe you'll be lucky like I was and find a McCoy autograph on the back, even if it's made out to "Leon."


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