Bobby Timmons

Moanin' Blues

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As an all-on-one-disc survey of the young composer-laureate of the funky school, this compilation will do very nicely. Drawing from four of Timmons' Riverside albums and one on Prestige, all the tunes are by Timmons save "Bags' Groove" and "Born To Be Blue"; the former takes us into the more advanced harmonic territory that Timmons was starting to explore in 1964. All three of his signature pieces, "Moanin," "This Here" and "Dat Dere," from Timmons' first recording as a leader, are here -- good tunes all, done with as much unself-conscious soul and élan as the far-better-known hit versions by former employers Art Blakey and Cannonball Adderley. Not only does the collection spotlight some instantly memorable gems that did not become well-known -- with apologies to Brando, "So Tired" shoulda been a contender -- it presents Timmons as a very likable pianist in the funk and bop idioms, with an emphatic touch and a penchant for not overplaying his hand with too many notes. And as for anyone who persists upon condemning this swinging musician as "just a funky piano player," the obvious riposte is, "And what's wrong with that?"

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