Some music never dies. It just sleeps for a while and then comes back in reissues. While some of it could well have stayed buried, this merging of two Timmons recordings is well deserving of attention. Timmons made some fine music, soul jazz if you will, the blues deeply shaded for sure. And even if he is best remembered as the composer of “Moanin’” and “This Here,” this record should put his accomplishments in better perspective.
The first six tracks, with Jones and Lucas, were originally released in 1964 as Little Barefoot Soul. There is soul aplenty as well as a big dollop of the blues. Timmons carves them with a sensuous grace, a fount that is watered from the get-go by the rolling bass line of Jones that gets involved in a call and response with the pianist. Timmons opens the line lighting a bright melodic spark after a quick gospel inflection. The mood becomes more subdued as Timmons traces jagged lines over a looping bass and the cymbals on “Cut Me Loose, Charlie,” the contrast effectively nailing the mood and the title on the head. The variation that Timmons brings in to “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen” moves away from gospel without losing its spiritual quality. It remains in his explorations which are deliberate and emotive.
The second album, Chun-King, released the next year, has Betts and Heath in tow and profiles a more diverse side of the pianist. The waltz “I Could Have Danced All Night” proves that he could be a convincing melodist, and a lithe swinging pianist as well. His art and interpretative skills are seen to greater advantage on “O Grande Amor.” Timmons explores the Brazilian rhythm with facile strength. He does not over vent the subtleties, brings in deft variations to the theme and maintains a seductive pulse. This as good a portrait of Timmons as any.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.