By Ryan Harrison
THE Calvia Jazz Festival kicked off last night with a stunning performance from legendary pianist McCoy Tyner.
Anticipation was high before last night's gig at the Gran Casino in Magalluf, as crowds flocked to see the former John Coltrane sideman and his trio. McCoy said yesterday: “Majorca is great. We're having a lot of fun with the trio.” He performed songs from his last two albums, Land of Giants and Illumination, and was backed by Jazz veterans Eric Gravott on drums and Charnett Moffett on bass. McCoy said his band, which has reunited for this gig, was: “very dynamic, very explosive and very creative.” ”Charnett can branch out and is not always orthodox, while Eric has great knowledge of rhythms and is very flexible,” he added. A visitor to Majorca in the 70*s, McCoy said it was great to be back. He famously played alongside John Coltrane on a number of Jazz classics, including Africa Brass, A Love Supreme and My Favourite Things. He said: “To play with John was wonderful. He was creatively magnificent.” “I first met him when I was 17, and he was playing with Miles Davis's band. John said when I get my own band I want you in it.” Asked what his favourite of all the songs he's made was, he said yesterday: “I don't want to discriminate. I love all my babies.” The other two members of his trio have also gigged with Jazz supremos during their time. Charnett Moffett recently recorded with Harry Connick Jnr. and Eric Gravott played with the 60*s band Weather Report before he joined McCoy's trio. McCoy said: ”Charnett has played with me for the last couple of years, but Eric and I grew up in the same town and we gigged together back then.” Playing tonight at the music festival is bass sensation Richard Bona, who is currently on a whirlwind European Tour. Flying in yesterday from Barcelona, he spoke to the Bulletin about tonight's gig. He said: “We're all looking forward to playing tonight. It's going to be a good show.” The Richard Bona band, a quintet of keyboard, drums, percussion, bass and saxophone, perform songs from his last three CDs as well as some covers. The ensemble, in Majorca for the first time tonight, brings together musicians from across the world. Richard explains: ”Our saxophonist is from the US, the keyboard player's from Holland, the percussion player is Columbian and the drummer is French. So it's a real mix.” Majorca is the fourth leg of their European tour, which has already taken them to Holland, Madrid and on Monday Barcelona. Their next stop is Malaga and the tour ends on August 9. Richard has also performed with the likes of George Benson and Queen Latiffa. Born in Cameroon with a modest up-bringing he was influenced by the church and people like Benson. “My folks were church musicians in an African gospel choir. So I was part of that type of music.” ”When I played guitar, George Benson was my idol,” he said yesterday. Richard, who plays flute, saxophone, guitar and percussion, said: “Tonight I will only sing and play bass because otherwise I get in the way of the other musicians.” The concert tonight is at the Gran Casino in Magalluf, doors open at 9pm and the show starts at 10pm.

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