Soul Time: BOBBY TIMMONS
Blue Mitchell (tp, except on Side 2, #3) Bobby Timmons (p) Sam Jones (b) Art Blakey (drs)
NYC; August 12 & 17, 1960
Soul Time (6:18) (Bobby Timmons)
So Tired (6:10) (Bobby Timmons)
The Touch of Your Lips (4:10) (Ray Noble)
S’posin’ (5:09) (Razaf – Denniker)
Stella B. (5:40) (Bobby Timmons)
You Don’t Know What Love Is (6:12) (Raye – DePaul )
One Mo’ (6:53) (Bobby Timmons)
As modern jazz turned the corner from the 1950s into the ’60, considerable emphasis – both musical and conversational – was being placed upon something most often identified as “soul music”. Despite a perhaps inevitable amount of confusion as to precisely what “soul” in musical sense consisted of, and argument over who was legitimately playing it and who merely latching on to a good thing, and so forth, it was clear that a new and probably lasting aspect had been added to contemporary jazz feeling and performance. In addition, it was most apparent that there was something here to which large segments of the jazz public were able to respond quickly, avidly and deeply.
Of all the jazz artists on whom the soul spotlight was focussed, none more properly deserved to be linked with this music than BOBBY TIMMONS. As both player and composer, this young pianist has in a relatively quite brief span of time done a great deal to help lay out the dimensions of this particular musical area. His first successful composition, Moanin’, originally recorded in 1958 by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers during Timmons’ first tour of duty with that band, stirred up a vast amount of attention and imitation, and could be said to have kicked-off the whole surge of soul-music emphasis.
Unquestionably, his second notable tune had an impact that would be hard to improve on. This Here (which, if you were to take a stab at spelling it the way it’s supposed to be pronounced, would come out – very roughly – something like Dish Hyea’) was first recorded in the Fall of ’59 by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, with Bobby on piano. The jazz public immediately took the tune to its heart, and as both Riverside and Cannonball, are quick and happy to admit, a large measure of credit for both the sensationally best-selling status of the album and the overnight public acceptance of the new Adderley group must go to Bobby and This Here.
Both that selection and Moanin’ were given trio performances in Bobby’s first LP under his own leadership, rather pointedly titled “This Here Is Bobby Timmons.” Mow, in his second effort, Timmons offers (along with three standards) four more of his own compositions in, primarily, that same vein. For working definitions of soul music, it’s far preferable to refer you to this record itself, rather than to try getting wordy or scholarly about it. For Bobby plays this vein of music just as authoritatively, imaginatively, compellingly and (of course) soulfully as he writes it. However, it is clear enough that this “new” idiom is in fact solidly based on some of the finest old sources: on “church music” – which is to say the more ‘shouting,’ rhythmic aspects of Negro gospel songs and spirituals; juxtapose with the spirit (though not necessarily the standard form) of the blues. Note that while Stella B. (named for Bobby’s wife) is a straightforward 12-bar blues figure, Soul Time (like This Here) is basically in waltz time, and So Tired is a ‘normal’ 32-bar-song construction – but heavily imbued with a gospel feeling that provides its distinctive flavor.
Timmons’ grasp of this type of music is both natural and deep-seated. Born in Philadelphia (in December, 1935), he was raised by a grandfather who was a minister, and as a boy played organ in church. His more formal training was as a scholarship student at the Philadelphia Musical Academy. His interest in jazz began in about 1952, and among his early listening influences he notes Bud Powell, Art Tatum, John Lewis and Kenny Drew. His professional career began in ’55, with Kenny Dorham, then Chet Baker, Sonny Stitt, and Maynard Ferguson. He spent a year and a half with Art Blakey before being invited into the Adderley group when it was formed in the Fall of ’59. But about six months later, after much discussion and due consideration all around, bobby made the difficult but to him inevitable decision to rejoin the Jazz Messengers, parting amicably with Cannonball in a move that was nevertheless one of the more publicized and misunderstood jazz events of the year . . .
In putting together the present album, Timmons planned from the start to make use of an added horn. Or, rather, not just a horn, but specifically the trumpet of BLUE MITCHELL, another member of Riverside’s roster of fact-rising young jazz stars, and currently a mainstay of the Horace Silver Quintet. Bobby felt that Blue would fit the desired atmosphere perfectly and could add uniquely valuable emphasis, punctuation and color. Thus this is not a quartet date, but a piano-led album on which this most sympathetic additional musical voice is employed in varying relevant ways on six of the selections (One Mo’ is a trio number). On Soul Time, Mitchell does take the melody lead, and on Stella B. he states the brief blues figure (with Bobby’s piano dancing brightly around it). But So Tired gives the lead to the piano with Blue coming in only at the bridge, a device that stresses the change-of-pace nature of the tune’s structure. On S’posin’, Timmons plays the melody against an underlying trumpet obligato that heightens the drive of this up-tempo version; while the subdued You Don’t Know What Love Is opens with totally unaccompanied piano, setting the stage for a lyrical Mitchell chorus that in turn leads into a rich piano solo.
The other two members of the cast were also specific Timmons choices. ART BLAKEY is of course among the very greatest of jazz drummers. He has preciously been heard on this label in support of Thelonious Monk (RLP 12-209 and 12-242), Cannonball (RLP 12-286) and Mitchell (RLP 12-293). SAM JONES, Adderley’s bassist, is right now probably the most highly regarded and most sought-after bass player on the New York scene. He appears on Riverside just about as often as we can get him, for audibly-obvious reasons. Both men provide awesomely unflagging rhythm support, as they always do. In addition, both solo impressively – with Art in a rare and remarkably melodic mood on Soul Time, and Sam particularly noteworthy on So Tired. (This latter tune, incidentally, was first recorded on Jones’ debut album as a leader, “The Soul Society,” on which Timmons and Mitchell also played.)
Timmons’ previous Riverside LP is –
This Here Is BOBBY TIMMONS (RLP 12-317; Stereo RLP 1164)
Bobby, and This Here, are also featured on –
The CANNONBALL ADDERLEY Quintet in San Francisco (RLP 12-317; Stereo RLP 1157)
Jones and Mitchell lead groups on such LPs as –
The Soul Society: SAM JONES, with Nat Adderley, Jimmy Heath, Timmons, Mitchell (RLP 12-324;
Stereo RLP 1172)
Blue Soul: BLUE MITCHELL, with Wynton Kelly (RLP 12-309; Stereo RLP 1155)
Blue’s Moods: BLUE MITCHELL Quartet (RLP 336; Stereo 9336)
Produced and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF
Back-liner photos by LAWRENCE N. SHUSTAK
Recording Engineer: RAY FOWLER
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios
Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Components Corp.) on a HYDROFEED lathe.
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street New York 36, N.Y.