"Moanin'" is to jazz as "Spoonful" is to blues. And rock for that matter. Written by pianist Bobby Timmons, the tune began as an eight bar warm-up Timmons would play between songs. (I'm thinking, Ed Norton and "Swanee River," but that's just me.) Benny Golson, the tenor sax player in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers encouraged Timmons to add a bridge and voila, a jazz standard was born in 1958. Soon after, the amazing vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross added lyrics and "Moanin'" became more popular than ever.
While I like the Jazz Messengers version of "Moanin'," I really love the Lambert, Hendricks & Ross version.The tune has a similar feel and melody to John Coltrane's "Blue Train," and probably a dozen more bluesy jazz tunes I'm not thinking of at the moment, and though Blakey's take is fine, it's the trio's phrasing and harmonies that send this baby flying.
Here are both for your listening pleasure.