This Here is BOBBY TIMMONS
Bobby Timmons (p) Sam Jones (b) Jimmy Cobb (drs) (Lush Life is an unaccompanied piano solo.)
New York; January 13 and 14, 1960
This Here (3:31) (Bobby Timmons)
Moanin’ (5:02) (Bobby Timmons)
Lush Life (2:20) (Billy Strayhorn)
The Party’s Over (4:07) (Comden, Green-Styne)
Prelude to a Kiss (3:16) (Duke Ellington)
Dat Dere (5:19) (Bobby Timmons)
My Funny Valentine (5:03) (Rodgers & Hart)
Come Rain or Come Shine (4:26) (Mercer-Arlen)
Joy Ride (3:58) (Bobby Timmons)
It would not be at all surprising if the period spanning the end of the e1950s and the beginning of the ‘60s tunes out to be listed in future histories of jazz as the era of “soul” music (which is a prettier word than “funky”, but means just about the same thing). Influenced and encouraged by the expanding success of several notable exponents of this type of blues-and-gospel-shaped jazz, more and more musicians have been trying their hand at it. Its hard to tell whether or not all this is going to become over-universal, and diluted into a mere fad. (“Soulful” already seems to have taken over the position as the inevitable adjective of praise that “swinging” once held.) For it is as true in jazz as anywhere else that every movement has its share of false prophets, that every bandwagon picks up many riders who have no business on board; and of course it is a well-established fact that everybody talking about Heaven ain’t going there.
But in separating the wheat from the chaff in this area of soul, there seems no room for doubt as to which side of the ledger BOBBY TIMMONS belongs on. The young pianist, who is making his debut as a leader on this album, is already recognized by a great many listeners as being among the most soulful of all. This is true even though quite possibly many of them have not been aware that it was Timmons they were digging. For Bobby’s first real tastes of jazz success have represented rather a reversal of the usual order of things: at a time when not too many have been aware of him as a player, his tunes – specifically such widely-appreciated compositions as Moanin’ and This Here – have already become household words to the jazz public.
However, the project of equalizing this situation and making everyone aware that the writer of those notably earthy melodies is also a most formidable pianist is now firmly under way. For one thing, the exciting new Cannonball Adderley Quintet, of which Timmons is very much a part, has been playing This Here (by insistent audience request) just about every working night since they have been in existence (which, as these notes are being written, ahs been about six months). And on every such occasion, the leader has announced the name of the composer – a not-at-all common piece of courtesy that also occurs on the best-selling quintet album (Riverside RLP 12-311) which marked the composition’s first appearance on record.
Even more directly relevant is the fact that this young pianist has been developing and maturing at a rather astounding rate, and has found for himself a distinctive and validly soulful groove that marks him not only as one of the real coming stars but also as someone very much worth listening to right now.
Appropriately enough, this trio LP gets under way with Bobby’s own version of This Here, Cannonball’s frequent description of this number as being “simultaneously a shout and a chant” and being related to “the roots of soul church music” is a good word-picture of its nature. It is very definitely a hand-clapping number: when it is played on the job, it is endlessly fascinating to watch and hear the crowd join in that way (even though the fact that it is also a waltz seems to escape a good many people and causes them to get fearfully tangled up in their clapping!). Moanin’ is an equally rhythmically compulsive effort that first drew attention when recorded by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. There are two other, newer Timmons tunes here as well: Dat Dere, another shouter with just a suggestion of a Latin strain to it; and the driving Joy Ride. The former leaves room for solo work by SAM JONES, currently a team-mate of Timmons’ in the Adderley group (he has also worked with Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk) and unquestionably among the finest and firmest of today’s bassists. Joy Ride, in turn, spotlights the other member of this trio, drummer JIMMY COBB, who was in an earlier Cannonball group a couple of years back, has also worked with Dizzy, and has more recently been a Miles Davis mainstay.
The other selections are all standards, and they serve to demonstrate both that Bobby’s soulful touch can embrace a wide variety of material and that he is capable of a good deal of lyrical tenderness – as in the relaxed ballad treatment of Funny Valentine (this version, incidentally, is known to Bobby’s friends as “Funky Valentine”) and in his unaccompanied performance of Billy Staryhorn’s aching Lush Life.
Bobby Timmons comes by his particular kind of jazz most naturally: his personal roots actually are in the church. Raised by a grandfather who was a minister, he played organ in church while still a boy (“but I don’t dig the organ for jazz,” he notes). He also has been exposed to music for most of his life. Born in Philadelphia (that astonishingly prolific source of jazz talent which has in recent years provided the East Coast scene with Coltrane, Golson, the Heath brothers, Philly Joe Jones and many others) in December of 1935, Bobby began studying piano and organ at the age of six. His first teacher was an uncle who held a master’s degree in music, and later Timmons was a scholarship student at the Philadelphia Musical Academy. When Bobby first began to pay attention to jazz, in about 1952, he found a varied wealth of pianists to listen hard to. Specifically, he paid particular attention to Bud Powell, John Lewis, Art Tatum, Kenny Drew, and also to a neglected member of the Gillespie big band of that time named James Forman; today, he notes, he particularly appreciates Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans. In ’55 Bobby played his first professional gig, with Kenny Dorham. Then came a year with Chet Baker, stays with Sonny Stitt and Maynard Ferguson, and a year and a half with Blakey. In the Fall of ’59, he was invited into the then-forming Adderley group.
Timmons can also be heard on Riverside on –
The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco (RLP 12-311; also Stereo RLP 1157)
Work Song: Nat Adderley, with Wes Montgomery (RLP 12-318; also Stereo RLP 1167)
10-to-4 at the Five Spot: Pepper Adams Quintet, with Donald Byrd (RLP 12-265)
(This recording is also available in Stereophonic form on RLP 1164)
Produced, and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS]
Cover designed and produced by PAUL BACON-KEN BRAREN-HARRIS LEWINE
Back-liner photos by LAWRENCE N, SHUSTAK
Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios) Riverside-Reeves
SPECTROSONIC High Fidelity Engineering
RIVERSIDE REOCRDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street New York 36, New York