The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery

The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery

by Wes MontgomeryWes Montgomery


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The incredible Wes Montgomery of 1960 was more discernible and distinctive than the guitarist who would emerge a few years later as a pop stylist and precursor to George Benson in the '70s. On this landmark recording, Montgomery veered away from his home Indianapolis-based organ combo with Melvin Rhyne, the California-based Montgomery Brothers band, and other studio sidemen he had been placed with briefly. Off to New York City and a date with Tommy Flanagan's trio, Montgomery seems in his post- to hard bop element, swinging fluently with purpose, drive, and vigor not heard in an electric guitarist since bop progenitor Charlie Christian. Setting him apart from the rest, this recording established Montgomery as the most formidable modern guitarist of the era, and eventually its most influential. There's some classic material here, including the cat-quick but perhaps a trifle anxious version of the Sonny Rollins bop evergreen "Airegin," the famous repeated modal progressive and hard bop jam "Four on Six," and Montgomery's immortal soul waltz "West Coast Blues," effortlessly rendered with its memorable melody and flowing, elegant chiffon-like lines. Flanagan, at a time shortly after leaving his native Detroit, is the perfect pianist for this session. He plays forcefully but never overtly so on the bop tracks, offering up his trademark delicacy on the laid-back "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and easy-as-pie "Gone with the Wind." With the dynamic Philadelphia rhythm section of brothers Percy Heath on bass and drummer Albert Heath, they play a healthy Latin beat on the choppy and dramatic melody of Montgomery's original "Mr. Walker." Montgomery is clearly talented beyond convention, consistently brilliant, and indeed incredible in the company of his sidemen, and this recording -- an essential addition to every jazz guitarist fan's collection -- put him on the map.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/03/2008
Label: Riverside
UPC: 0888072307902
catalogNumber: 30790
Rank: 8975

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Wes Montgomery   Primary Artist,Guitar
Tommy Flanagan   Piano
Percy Heath   Bass,Upright Bass
Albert "Tootie" Heath   Drums
Albert Heath   Drums

Technical Credits

Dave Brubeck   Composer
Wes Montgomery   Composer
Sonny Rollins   Composer
Jack Higgins   Engineer
Orrin Keepnews   Producer,Liner Notes,Reissue Producer,Audio Production
James Van Heusen   Composer
Allie Wrubel   Composer
Paul Bacon   Producer,Cover Design
Lawrence Shustak   Cover Photo
Ken Braren   Producer,Cover Design
Harris Lewine   Producer,Cover Design
Larissa Collins   Art Direction

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