Song of the Day: Bobby Timmons “This Here”
Kicking off his 1960 LP, This Here Is Bobby Timmons, the title cut by the talented jazz pianist Bobby Timmons is an indelible soul jazz classic. Timmons managed to fuse the progressiveness of hard bop with a soulful, almost gospel-inflected style of playing. This unique conception of the piano propelled Timmons to notoriety in the jazz world and saw him both leading his own trios as well as being a much sought after sideman for the likes of Art Blakey (and Timmons replaced Horace Silver for a time in Blakey‘s band as one of the storied Jazz Messengers), Lee Morgan, Kenny Burrell, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Hank Mobley and many others.
One of the big reasons Timmons was so sought after as a session hand was that he didn’t bring his formidable left hand (with which he was a brilliant and rhythmic comper who could anchor a piece of music for the soloists) but also for the compositions he would inevitably bring as well. Timmons was a prolific composer of deeply bluesy, frequently funky songs, many of which would go on to become jazz standards. Some of his best known include “Moanin’“, “Dat Dere”, “Pretty Memory”, “This Here” and “Soul Time”.
Sadly, Timmons struggled terribly with heroin addiction throughout his career (a blight that afflicted many in his generation of jazz musicians). To get off heroin, he would often turn to drinking as a substitute, which resulted in a similarly problematic relationship with alcohol. In the end, it was this relationship with alcohol that would kill him in 1974 at the age of only 38. While his life was tragically cut short, we still have the many wonderful songs that Timmons wrote and the many recordings of his formidable playing.