The pianist McCoy Tyner (known for his work with John Coltrane as well as his own groups) and the dancer Savion Glover (the former Tap Dance Kid who blew up in Bring In ’Da Noise, Bring In ’Da Funk) are separated by several decades. But onstage, as they were last week rehearsing—improvising, really—at the Blue Note for a gig at Aaron Davis Hall on March 24, they are clearly speaking the same language.
Tyner: I took dance lessons—when I was a teenager, this lady had a school and needed some male dancers. Not tap, though; I wasn’t that good. So I have a lot of respect for people like him—the ability to improvise with his feet and with his imagination.
They came along almost at the same time, tap and jazz. There’s very little difference—I don’t even say there’s a difference. Tap dance is really jazz dancing. Wouldn’t you say so?
Glover: Yes, sir. Hoofing. A hoofer is the musician, versus just a tap dancer, so we consider ourselves part of the band. But when you hear this—not to take anything away from my band—it’s just different. It’s as if he’s just pulling stuff out of the piano.
Tyner: [Laughs] It’s the only thing I know how to do. I’ve been playing since I was 13. It seems like you choose things, but things are chosen for you in a way.
Glover: It’s just a joy.
Tyner: Yeah, joy. I like that. That’s a good word.
Interviewed by Alicia Zuckerman.