Mr. Tyner’s approach to the piano combined robust chords with delicate melodic improvisation. In 1960, he joined forces with Coltrane, a saxophonist he had known while growing up in Philadelphia. He was the last surviving member of what jazz fans call the “classic quartet,” which included the bassist Jimmy Garrison and the drummer Elvin Jones.
“Even though John was, so to speak, the engineer of the train, each of us had to fashion his own concept,” Mr. Tyner told the Los Angeles Times in 1979. “The stimulation was mutual; while we always felt the strength of John’s presence, he told us that what he played was a reaction to what was happening around him.”
“A Love Supreme,” a four-part suite conceived by Coltrane but largely improvised in the studio by the quartet, became one of the most revered albums in the jazz canon. It was recorded Dec. 9, 1964, two days before Mr. Tyner’s 26th birthday, and came to be seen as a musical expression that approached an almost trancelike state of spiritual release.
Throughout the recording, the shifting chords of Mr. Tyner’s piano provide a foundation for Coltrane’s driving tenor saxophone lines. At various times, Mr. Tyner takes over with confident, fleet-fingered solos that push Coltrane to ever more intense musical heights.
In the final movement, “Psalm,” Jones creates an ominous sonic cloudburst on drums as Mr. Tyner plays clanging chords and Coltrane seeks a path toward musical resolution.
“A Love Supreme,” which was released in 1965, is “without precedent and parallel,” Richard Cook and Brian Morton wrote in “The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings.”
In much of his work with Coltrane, Mr. Tyner adopted an innovative approach at the piano by voicing chords in “fourths,” playing the first and fourth notes of a musical scale, rather than first, third and fifth. His ringing chords “completely changed the sound of modern jazz piano,” the New York Times critic Peter Watrous wrote in 1997.
Mr. Tyner’s “open voicing” helped give Coltrane the freedom to play extended solos with almost unlimited melodic and rhythmic possibilities.
“What you don’t play is sometimes as important as what you do play,” Mr. Tyner told the pianist and radio host Marian McPartland in 1983. “I would leave space, which wouldn’t identify the chord so definitely to the point that it inhibited your other voicings.”
Mr. Tyner attacked the keyboard with such force that the piano often shook beneath the onslaught, yet he also had a remarkably delicate touch. One of his most sensitive extended performances came in “John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman,” a 1963 album that was Coltrane’s sole recording with a singer. Coltrane plays with considerable restraint on the album, consisting mostly of ballads, as Mr. Tyner steps forward with flowing solos and harmonic patterns that balance Hartman’s velvety vocals.
“I’ve always liked a lot of melody and lyricism, even though the critics say I play very percussive,” Mr. Tyner told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1990. “I feel that it’s good to be able to hold people’s attention even when you’re playing a ballad.”
Mr. Tyner left Coltrane’s group in 1965, becoming uneasy with the increasingly atonal and noisy direction of the saxophonist’s music.
“He had two drummers at that time,” Mr. Tyner said in 1976, “and I couldn’t hear what I was doing.”
By then, he was already writing and recording music of his own, beginning with the 1962 album “Inception.” In 1967, Mr. Tyner released the album “The Real McCoy,” featuring three of his compositions that became jazz standards, “Passion Dance,” “Search for Peace” and “Blues on the Corner.”
During the 1970s, when other jazz musicians were turning toward electronic instruments and funkier styles of music, Mr. Tyner adamantly stuck with the acoustic piano, calling it an extension of himself. He often recorded several albums a year, repeatedly won critics’ polls and became recognized, as the critic Leonard Feather wrote in the Los Angeles Times, as “the most influential pianist of his generation.”
Mr. Tyner won his first Grammy Award in 1988 for the album “Blues for Coltrane.” He went on to win four more. He recorded with various instrumentalists, including on a graceful 1990 collaboration, “One on One,” with the 82-year-old French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. Mr. Tyner’s other albums included solo performances, big-band recordings and excursions into Latin music.
“His music, for all its power and intensity, would always retain a basic songfulness,” the Chicago Tribune jazz critic Larry Kart wrote in 1981. “Dark and brooding at some times, joyful and exuberant at others, Tyner’s playing could be described as one huge piano solo — an attempt to discover, state, reshape, and decorate a vast primal melody.”
Alfred McCoy Tyner was born Dec. 11, 1938, in Philadelphia. His father was a factory worker, his mother a beautician.
Mr. Tyner began piano lessons at 13, and soon afterward his mother put a piano in her beauty salon.
“The saxophone player was next to the [hair] dryer,” Mr. Tyner recalled to the New York Daily News in 1992, “and the drummer was next to the shampoo chair. Those women heard some rocking tunes when they got their hair fixed.”
He grew up with several other prominent Philadelphia jazz musicians, including the pianist Bobby Timmons, the trumpeter Lee Morgan and the saxophonist Archie Shepp. Bud Powell, the preeminent bebop pianist of the 1940s and 1950s, sometimes practiced on the Tyner family piano.
Mr. Tyner was 17 when he met Coltrane, who grew up in Philadelphia and shared North Carolina roots with the Tyner family.
“We were very close. He was like a big brother to me,” Mr. Tyner told the Los Angeles Times in 1993. “We just had a similar perspective on music. It wasn’t a thing you could verbalize.”
In 1959, Mr. Tyner joined the Jazztet, a group jointly led by the trumpeter Art Farmer and the saxophonist Benny Golson. The next year, he was featured on Golson’s jazz standard “Killer Joe” before he left for Coltrane’s quartet.
Mr. Tyner became a Muslim in his late teens. His marriage to Aisha Saud ended in divorce. Survivors include three sons and several grandchildren.
Mr. Tyner continued to perform in concerts and international festivals into his late 70s. Yet he considered his time with Coltrane, who died in 1967, “the highlight of my career.”
Years later, he would often perform with Coltrane’s son, the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane.
“He doesn’t really try to copy his father,” Mr. Tyner told the Montreal Gazette in 2008. “But it’s his mannerisms, the look on his face, the little smile. I’ve seen that before.”
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