"IT'S ABOUT TIME" is so titled because it marks the first time that two old friends -- pianist McCoy Tyner and saxophonist Jackie McLean -- collaborated on an album together. Interestingly, this new Blue Note album comes at a time when the same jazz label is busily reissuing an impressive catalogue of old recordings, including titles by both Tyner and McLean.
So how does the new stack up against the old? Well, given the climate for more commercial jazz these days, remarkably well.
Granted, fans of the old Blue Notes aren't going to be much impressed by the predictable funk essays on the album's title track, even though McLean's gritty alto and Marcus Miller's electric bass ultimately conspire to create a festive groove, not unlike the kind Sonny Rollins favors.
But the acoustic performances are much meatier, beginning with "Spur of the Moment," the first of two bop-inspired tunes that wed McLean's authoritative sax with Jon Faddis' dazzling trumpet. For his part, Tyner plays with customary power and invention on these tracks and, with the help of bassist Ron Carter, softly illuminates Carter's lovely ballad "No Flowers Please."
McCOY TYNER & JACKIE McLEAN -- "It's About Time" (Blue Note BT E5102); McCoy Tyner Trio with saxophonist Andrew White appears Friday through Sunday at Blues Alley.