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

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This live set from 1965 showcases guitarist Wes Montgomery at his peak, only three years before his sudden death. Montgomery is technically dazzling, making the difficult technique of soloing in octaves his trademark. Yet he seldom plays a solo that doesn't swing like mad. Check out "Unit 7": the first half packs enough melodic ideas to fuel an album or two, before Montgomery takes the energy higher with thrashing chords. Pianist Wynton Kelly turns in a lovely, understated take on the standard "What's New."


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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