Tyner began playing at age 13, and took to the piano quickly. By the time he reached high school, he had begun playing in venues around Philadelphia and nearby cities. His first big gig came in 1959 when he joined the Benny Golson-Art Farmer Jazztet. In 1960, saxophonist John Coltrane, who had recently left the Miles Davis group, invited Tyner to join his new quartet. Tyner played with Coltrane's quartet for about five years, and his unique approach to the piano helped to define the modal style for which that group became famous. The quartet gained international acclaim and is recognized as one of the most important and influential groups in the history of modern jazz.
After Tyner left Coltrane in 1965 he went on to play with his own trio. Eventually, he worked as a sideman with Jimmy Witherspoon, and with Ike and Tina Turner, and he continued to make his own recordings as a leader, something he began doing while still in Coltrane's group. It wasn't until Tyner signed with Milestone Records in 1972 that he began achieving individual recognition, eventually becoming known as one of the all-time jazz greats in his own right.
Tyner recorded with various labels over the next two decades, including Blue Note, but eventually found a home label with Telarc in the late 1990s. His 2007 recording, McCoy Tyner Quartet, features Joe Lovano, Christian McBride, and Jeff "Tain" Watts.
Originally recorded May 4, 1983. Originally broadcast Oct. 29, 1983.