Tyner's first main exposure came with Benny Golson, being the first pianist in Golson's and Art Farmer's legendary Jazztet (1960). After departing the Jazztet, Tyner joined Coltrane's group in 1960 during its extended run at the Jazz Gallery, replacing Steve Kuhn. (Coltrane had known Tyner for a while in Philadelphia, and featured one of the pianist's compositions, "The Believer", as early as 1958.) He appeared on the saxophonist's popular recording of "My Favorite Things" for Atlantic Records. The Coltrane Quartet, which consisted of Coltrane on tenor sax, Tyner, Jimmy Garrison onbass, and Elvin Jones on drums, toured almost non-stop between 1961 and 1965 and recorded a number of classic albums, including Live at the Village Vanguard, Ballads, Live at Birdland, Crescent, A Love Supreme, and The John Coltrane Quartet Plays ..., on the Impulse! label.
Tyner has recorded a number of highly influential albums in his own right. While in Coltrane's group, he recorded a series (primarily in the piano trio format) for Impulse! Records. The pianist also appeared as a sideman on many of the highly acclaimed Blue Note albums of the 1960s, although was often credited as "etc." on the cover of these albums (when listing the sidemen on the album) in order to respect his contractual obligations atImpulse Records.
His involvement with John Coltrane came to an end in 1965. Coltrane's music was becoming much more atonal and free; he had also augmented his quartet with percussion players who threatened to drown out both Tyner and Jones. This seemed to add to his drive and character about wanting to make music his own and unique. Tyner was somewhat bitter about the change in Coltrane's direction: "I didn't see myself making any contribution to that music... All I could hear was a lot of noise. I didn't have any feeling for the music, and when I don't have feelings, I don't play." By 1966, Tyner was rehearsing with a new trio and would now fully embark on his career as a leader