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Album Review

Wes Montgomery's live sessions at the Half Note in 1965 were widely acclaimed when they were finally released in 1969, the year after his death. With an outstanding rhythm section of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb, Montgomery's playing is clearly stimulated, though this straight reissue of the original LP unfortunately restores the unnecessary overdubbed brass and woodwinds arranged by Claus Ogermann on three of the tracks (which were removed from these songs on an earlier Verve compilation Smokin' at the Half Note). Highlights include cooking interpretations of "Impressions" and "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top," while the low point is the obvious after-the-fact addition of Ogermann's work in "Oh, You Crazy Moon." The improved sound of this 2002 reissue makes up for the shortcomings of the return of Ogermann's superficial additions.


Born: 06 March 1923 in Indianapolis, IN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

Wes Montgomery was one of the great jazz guitarists, a natural extension of Charlie Christian, whose appealing use of octaves became influential and his trademark. He achieved great commercial success during his last few years, only to die prematurely. It had taken Wes a long time to become an overnight success. He started to teach himself guitar in 1943 (using his thumb rather than a pick) and toured with Lionel Hampton during 1948-1950; he can be heard on a few broadcasts from the period. But...
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