Moanin' Blues isn't really a blues set as much as it's a collection of pianist Bobby Timmons's (1935-74) better known hits. "Moanin'," "Dat Dere" and "This Here" (all from 1960's This Here Is Bobby Timmons on Riverside) are here as well as three tracks from 1960's Soul Time and two tracks apiece from 1961's Easy Does It, 1963's Born to be Blue and 1964's underrated Workin' Out!. These songs, each one worthwhile and interesting, are really only blues in the sense that jazz is derived from the blues. Timmons often utilized blues figures in his playing. But his music was often informed by a soulful bop style that was too easily (and incorrectly) dismissed as simple soul jazz. As was true throughout much of his too-brief recording career, Timmons is heard here most often in trios, occasionally enhanced by undersung soloists like vibraphonist Johnny Lytle ("Trick Hips," "Bag's Groove) or trumpeter Blue Mitchell ("Soul Time," "So Tired"). Despite the well-known material (and the lack of anything from 1966's Soul Man ), nice surprises are in abundance (particularly "Pretty Memory" and the rollicking "A Little Busy"), making Moanin Blues a valuable place to begin exploring the music of Bobby Timmons.
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