The Soul Man! is beautiful, elegant music and, contrary to what one might expect from a straightforward Prestige session, it's made up entirely of compelling, memorable originals. When the album was recorded, both Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter were in the second Miles Davis quintet, and it appears from this record that they were willing to contribute original compositions for a smaller unit under someone else's leadership, even someone as modest as Bobby Timmons, who was essentially just a reliable, bluesy pianist, while Miles was a giant. The result actually is a small gem. Shorter is at the height of his maturity as a player, delivering eloquent, lyrical statements in that rich, confident tone, while Timmons lays down solos as witty as he ever played with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, the "school" that gave him (and Shorter, incidentally) an assured place in the business.
Pure piano magic from Bobby Timmons – a pair of great albums from his years at Riverside Records! First up is Sweet & Soulful Sounds – a wonderful mellow trio session from Bobby – done with a spare, relaxed approach that's a nice contrast to the recordings he was making for Prestige around the same time – but which still has the same deep, soulful approach to the piano that makes those records so great! Half a dozen trio numbers with Sam Jones and Roy McCurdy are rounded out with two piano solos, "God Bless The Child" and "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" – both of which present Bobby in an especially introspective mode, one you don't hear that often on record!
Pianist Bobby Timmons did the bulk of his recording as a leader for Riverside in a trio setting. This album was the exception, as it adds the pungent lyricism of Blue Mitchell's trumpet to the deeply soulful rhythm section of Timmons, Sam Jones, and Art Blakey. Timmons had recently left Cannonball Adderley's quintet to return to Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and was clearly at a peak as both player and composer. The album features four of his characteristically sanctified tunes, including the classic "So Tired," which he also cut with Blakey for Blue Note in the midst of the sessions that produced this album.
This CD reissue combines two long-available Prestige LPs by Bobby Timmons, Little Barefoot Soul and Chun-King. The first date was actually the pianist's debut for the label, and it nearly didn't take place at all. A quintet session suddenly turned into a trio with bassist Sam Jones and Ray Lucas, the latter a last minute substitution on drums. Although Timmons' jazz immortality was assured with his earlier hit "Moanin'," most of the originals sound as if they were written shortly beforehand and were still evolving. The standout among them is easily.
This is a classic Riverside set that has been reissued on CD in the Original Jazz Classics series. Pianist Bobby Timmons by early 1960 had already had successful stints with Art Blakey (where he contributed "Moanin'") and Canonball Adderley (writing "This Here" and "Date Dere"). For his first recording as a leader, Timmons (whose "funky" style was beginning to become very influential) performs those three hits along with his own "Joy Ride" and five standards in a trio with bassist Sam Jones and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Always more than just a soul-jazz pianist, Timmons (who effectively takes "Lush Life" unaccompanied) became a bit stereotyped later in his career but at this early stage was at the peak of his creativity. Essential music. ~ Scott Yanow