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Keepnews Collection: Bags Meets Wes

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Editors’ Notes

In late 1961, two jazz giants, vibraphonist Milt Jackson and guitarist Wes Montgomery, got together to record Bags Meets Wes! The already well-known Jackson had been a member of the Modern Jazz Quartet for several years, while Montgomery had only recently entered the spotlight with his 1960 release The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery. But they shared a love of the blues and the pairing turned out to be a perfect match. (The backup band — pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Philly Joe Jones — is top-notch.) These musicians can swing hard or lightly massage the material just so, and it’s a delight to hear Jackson and Montgomery, with their highly distinctive styles, play off each other. Throughout the album the listener is treated to Montgomery’s warm-toned solos (which often use octave voicings) and Jackson’s finely constructed vibraphone statements. There are no clinkers, but the group’s energetic version of Benny Golson’s “Stablemates,” packed with dazzling performances, stands out.

Customer Reviews

One Smokin' Recording

You will not regret buying this one...everyone here is swingin' and the interplay between Bags and Wes is astounding. Milt was not known for liking to work with guitarists, but when he heard Wes, he jumped at the chance to make this session happen. Buy it'll be glad you did.


Born: January 1, 1923 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Before Milt Jackson, there were only two major vibraphonists: Lionel Hampton and Red Norvo. Jackson soon surpassed both of them in significance and, despite the rise of other players (including Bobby Hutcherson and Gary Burton), still won the popularity polls throughout the decades. Jackson (or "Bags" as he was long called)...
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Keepnews Collection: Bags Meets Wes, Milt Jackson
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