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Riverside Profiles: Wes Montgomery

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His five-year stay with Riverside coincided with an artistic growth spurt for Wes Montgomery, who went from being the hottest young guitarist in Indiana to the finest guitarist of his generation in just a few short years. The first disc covers his sessions as leader, including collaborations with the giants of the East Coast jazz scene, as well as some of Montgomery’s closest friends and family. In addition to his brothers Buddy and Monk, these recordings feature Tommy Flanagan, Nat and Cannonball Adderley, Milt Jackson, George Shearing, Johnny Griffin, and Milt Jackson, to name just a few. Each permutation of players sharpened a different aspect of Montgomery’s style — his articulation of melodies, his sense of humor, his gentle chord voicings. Listening to “Four On Six” and “’Round Midnight” back-to-back should give a sense of the range of his talent. The second disc highlights Montgomery’s contributions as a sideman, and is arguably even more fun than the first. Cannonball Adderley’s live performance of “Bohemia After Dark” shows that Montgomery is probably the only guitarist who was every inch equivalent to a muscular horn player.

Customer Reviews


His playing searches my soul. Stirs up a memory, a past place of joyous living. A must have for any jazz fans, or just relaxing on a Sunday.


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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