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Smokin' At the Half Note (Expanded Edition) [Live]

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Editors’ Notes

Backed by the musicians Miles Davis used for Kind of Blue — pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb — Montgomery is the epitome of calm. No note is strained, no phrase misplaced. Whether the guitarist is riding the slow burn of “What’s New” or the tumultuous changes of “Unit 7,” he never falters, always sure to savor every note, for himself, and for the listener. His solos fill the spectrum, from single note melodies to lush chords, while highlighting Montgomery’s signature octave playing. Pat Metheny has called the solo on “If You Could See Me Now” “the greatest ever played, including anything by Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson or anybody else.” There is a magic air about that performance, which, along with “No Blues” was the only song from the original program recorded at the Half Note. While the remainder of the original album was recorded at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in New Jersey, the 2005 expanded edition of the album includes the rest of the songs from the group’s brilliant June 1965 appearance at the famed New York nightspot.

Customer Reviews

Smokin' At the Half Note

Buy this and "Full House", and your Wes Montgomery collection is complete.

The best price for an iconic recording!

Often the best price for a recording is the Amazon CD price but this is a clear exception. This is the best and most affordable way to own this iconic recording. Not only that but Pat Metheny is often quoted as saying this got him started at age 13. Unit 7 is often cited as the best track. If you need convincing to purchase this entire recording try Impressions, Misty and/or Willow Weep for Me to give you an idea of what you are in for. The joy in these performances is transcendent.

A standard for Jazz guitarist

If you play jazz guitar, this cd is a must. These songs are standards in their own rite. Learn them, study them and you will not be disappointed.


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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