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Boss Guitar (Original Jazz Classics Remasters)

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Editors’ Notes

The legendary jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery — a link between Charlie Christian and Jimi Hendrix — reached his widest audience with a series of pop-influenced albums he recorded with arranger Don Sebesky in the ‘60s. But fans often turn to his trio recordings when they want to hear the essence of Wes. 1963’s Boss Guitar features a superb threesome: Montgomery, organist Mel Rhyne, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Montgomery also worked with the great organist Jimmy Smith, but Rhyne approaches the instrument differently. Where Smith builds and builds in dramatic, sometimes over-the-top fashion, Rhyne smolders, creating a beautiful, low-key foil for the guitarist. Boss Guitar opens with a cool, gliding version of “Besame Mucho” that quickly makes the listener forget all the schmaltzy versions this warhorse has endured. The rest of the album maintains a high level of artistry, but if you had to pick a highlight, it might be “The Trick Bag.” Rhyne and Cobb comp and swing as Montgomery spins out a fine solo that incorporates his trademark use of octaves. Rhyne follows with a warm, smokin’ statement, and then Cobb lets loose, playing off the others’ monster riffing. A classic.

Customer Reviews

Real Jazz

The music is relaxing. The playing is Jazz at it's core. The skill of the players is world-class. And of course, Wes Montgomery, one of the great heroes of the guitar, plays so fluidly that it's easy to overlook the difficulty of what he's doing. It wasn't done that way before he did it and hasn't been done since. Wes' timing, phrasing and sense of swing simply cannot be matched. Ever again.

The boss of the jazz guitar in a stellar ’63 trio setting

Concord Records initiated a new pass through their Original Jazz Classics catalog in March of 2010, and they now add five more titles to the program. Each reissue features a new 24-bit remaster by Joe Tarantino, extensive liner notes, and bonus tracks. This 1963 set finds jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery at the peak of his creative powers, backed by the talented Mel Rhyne on Hammond B-3 and the sharp-as-a-tack swing of Jimmy Cobb on drums. Montgomery’s tone is both smooth and penetrating, and he’s as mesmerizing playing upbeat romps as he is laying back into ballads. The fluid paths taken by his solo improvisations feel fresh and spontaneous, and his chords are complex yet remain musical. The album is filled with the grooves of Rhyne’s organ playing, but the slow numbers, including Henry Mancini’s “Days of Wine and Roses” and a serene take on Eddie Heywood’s “Canadian Sunset” are winningly thoughtful. Montgomery thrived in the trio format, and the mix of up-tempo, ballad, original and cover material, along with straight and Latin-inflected rhythms, give this album terrific range and balance. It’s been fifteen years since the last domestic reissue of this title, so it’s great to have modern digital practices applied to this classic. The bonus tracks are alternate takes of the album tracks “Besame Mucho,” “The Trick Bag” and “Fried Pies,” and the fold-out booklet includes full-panel reproductions of the original covers (front and back), Joe Goldberg’s original album notes, and new liners by Neil Tesser that include fresh interview material with Rhyne and Cobb. [©2010 hyperbolium dot com]


And relaxing!


Born: March 6, 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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