Tyner’s solo career began while he was still with Coltrane and, in a fertile period between 1962 and 1964, he released six albums for the Impulse! label. After he left Coltrane, in 1965, Tyner had a couple of fallow years but eventually landed at Blue Note in 1967.
Expansions was his fourth LP for the iconic jazz label and its title referenced the fact that it was Tyner’s most ambitious solo project up to that point, using a larger ensemble than was the norm, comprising seven musicians. In terms of its personnel, Expansions certainly boasted an impressive line-up. On saxophone was Wayne Shorter, then still in the Miles Davis Quintet, while Ron Carter was also “borrowed” from that group, though he played cello on the session rather than his customary bass. Playing trumpet was one of Philadelphia’s rising talents, Woody Shaw, who had impressed on organist Larry Young’s 1966 Blue Note LP Unity. Playing alto sax (and doubling on wooden flute) was Baltimore musician Gary Bartz, who, later in the 70s, would go onto work with Miles Davis. Completing the line-up was bassist Herbie Lewis and drummer Freddie Waits.