Wes Montgomery – The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery ★★★★★

Wes MontgomeryRiverside

Wes Montgomery (g), Tommy Flanagan (p), Percy Heath (b) and Albert “Tootie” Heath (d). Rec. January 1960

This CD, the best studio album that Wes Montgomery recorded, marked a turning point in the guitarist’s career and a new era in the development of the guitar. Wes had already recorded a string of albums, in the company of his brothers, Buddy and Monk and other musicians. While these had attracted favourable reviews, sales were modest and they had not achieved the desired lift-off for his career. For this album, producer Orrin Keepnews sought a different setting for Wes and placed him with a crack New York rhythm section. From the very first notes of Sonny Rollins’ ‘Airegin’, the chemistry clearly works. Undaunted by its choppy chord progression and a brisk tempo, the quartet romps through several choruses with effortless energy and good homour, spraying melodic and rhythmic ideas in all directions before bringing it to a triumphant conclusion. In contrast, ‘“D” Natural Blues’ is taken at a relaxed pace and is the first of four examples on this album of Wes the composer, with its simple but evocative theme. Both Flanagan and Percy Heath take fine solos. It also brings out the reflective side of Wes and his unerring ability as an improviser to extract strong, original melodic lines from much-trodden harmonies. These qualities are also to the fore in the ballad ‘Polkadots and Moonbeams’ where his warm, soulful guitar sound – he plucked the strings with his thumb instead of a pick – creates an intimate, conversational mood.

Two Wes compositions from this album have become jazz standards. ‘Four on Six’, with its ostinato bass riff, re-works the harmonies of Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ and ‘West Coast Blues’ gives the 12-bar blues form a further twist by converting it into 24-bar blues, using altered chord changes and giving it a 3/4 treatment with a melody that once heard, is never forgotten. In his solo on this track and on the closer, ‘Gone With The Wind’, Wes begins his solo with straightforward melodic lines, then changes up a gear by playing passages first in unison octaves and then in block chords, innovations that assist in the strategic development of a solo but which also brought exciting new expressive resources to the guitar.

With this album, Wes Montgomery showed a new direction for the guitar in jazz and inspired George Benson, Pat Martino, Pat Metheny and the thousands of other jazz guitarists who all acknowledge a debt to this gentle genius.

– Charles Alexander

 

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Five Star Reviews

Gregory Porter – Be Good ★★★★★

Gregory Porter – Be Good ★★★★★

Motéma Gregory Porter (v), Chip Crawford (p), Aaron James (b), Emmanuel...

Read More.....
Jeremy Pelt – Soul ★★★★★

Jeremy Pelt – Soul ★★★★★

HighNote Jeremy Pelt (t, flhn), JD Allen (ts), Danny Grissett...

Read More.....
Charles Mingus – The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady/Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus ★★★★★

Charles Mingus – The Black Saint And The…

Impulse! Charles Mingus (b, p) with Richard Williams, Rolf Ericson/Eddie...

Read More.....
Albert Ayler – Stockholm, Berlin 1966 ★★★★★

Albert Ayler – Stockholm, Berlin 1966 ★★…

hatOLOGY Albert Ayler (ts), Donald Ayler (t), Michel Samson (vn), William...

Read More.....
Pat Martino Quartet – Undeniable: Live at Blues Alley ★★★★★

Pat Martino Quartet – Undeniable: Live a…

HighNote Pat Martino (g), Eric Alexander (ts), Tony Monaco (org)...

Read More.....
Keith Jarrett – Rio ★★★★★

Keith Jarrett – Rio ★★★★★

(ECM) Keith Jarrett (p). Rec. 9 April 2011 Is this Keith...

Read More.....
John Coltrane Quartet – The Complete November 19, 1962 Stockholm Concerts ★★★★★

John Coltrane Quartet – The Complete Nov…

Domino Records John Coltrane (ts; ss), McCoy Tyner (p), Jimmy...

Read More.....
Ornette Coleman Original Album Series ★★★★★

Ornette Coleman Original Album Series ★★…

Including: The Shape Of Jazz To Come/Change Of The Century/This...

Read More.....
Buck Clayton – Complete Legendary Jam Sessions: Master Takes ★★★★★

Buck Clayton – Complete Legendary Jam Se…

Solar Buck Clayton, Joe Newman, Joe Thomas, Billy Butterfield (t)...

Read More.....
Phil Seamen – Seamen’s Mission ★★★★★

Phil Seamen – Seamen’s Mission ★★★★★

Properbox Phil Seamen (d), Jimmy Deuchar, Albert Hall, Jo Hunter, Terry...

Read More.....
Miles Davis – Tutu: Deluxe Edition ★★★★★

Miles Davis – Tutu: Deluxe Edition ★★★★★

Warner Jazz CD1: Miles Davis (t) plus all additional instruments...

Read More.....
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On ★★★★★

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On ★★★★★

Universal Motown Gaye (v, p), The Andantes, the Detroit Lions...

Read More.....
Freddie Hubbard – Pinnacle: Live & Unreleased From Keystone Korner ★★★★★

Freddie Hubbard – Pinnacle: Live & U…

Resonance Freddie Hubbard (t, flhn), Phil Ranelin (tb), Hedley Caliman...

Read More.....
Herbie Hancock – Headhunters ★★★★★

Herbie Hancock – Headhunters ★★★★★

Columbia/Legacy Herbie Hancock (kys), Harvey Mason (d), Paul Jackson (el b)...

Read More.....
Miles Davis – Cookin’ at the Plugged Nickel ★★★★★

Miles Davis – Cookin’ at the Plugged Nic…

Columbia/Legacy Miles Davis (t), Wayne Shorter (ts), Herbie Hancock (p)...

Read More.....
Dizzy Gillespie And His Orchestra – Gillespiana ★★★★★

Dizzy Gillespie And His Orchestra – Gill…

Poll Winners Records Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Ernie Royal, Joe...

Read More.....
Bill Evans – Portrait In Jazz ★★★★★

Bill Evans – Portrait In Jazz ★★★★★

Poll Winners Records Bill Evans (p), Scott LaFaro (b), Paul...

Read More.....
Duke Ellington – At the Cotton Club ★★★★★

Duke Ellington – At the Cotton Club ★★★★…

Storyville Duke Ellington (p), Wallace Jones, Cootie Williams (t), Rex...

Read More.....
Jeremy Pelt – The Talented Mr. Pelt ★★★★★

Jeremy Pelt – The Talented Mr. Pelt ★★★★…

High Note Jeremy Pelt (t, flhn), J.D. Allen (ts), Danny...

Read More.....
Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus ★★★★★

Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus ★★★★★

Poll Winners Records Sonny Rollins (ts), Tommy Flanagan, Ray Bryant...

Read More.....
Thelonious Monk – Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane ★★★★★

Thelonious Monk – Thelonious Monk with J…

Riverside/OJC Remaster Thelonious Monk (p), Ray Copeland (t), Gigi Gryce...

Read More.....
Thelonious Monk – Brilliant Corners ★★★★★

Thelonious Monk – Brilliant Corners ★★★★…

Poll Winners Records Thelonious Monk (p), Clark Terry (t) Sonny...

Read More.....
Eric Dolphy – The Complete Last Recordings In Hilversum And Paris 1964 ★★★★★

Eric Dolphy – The Complete Last Recordin…

Domino Jazz Dolphy (as, b clt, fl), Kenny Drew, Jacques...

Read More.....
Sun Ra – Arkestra Sunrise In Different Dimensions ★★★★★

Sun Ra – Arkestra Sunrise In Different D…

HatOLOGY Sun Ra (p), Marshall Allen(as,ob,f), John Gilmore (ts, cl...

Read More.....
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) ★★★★★

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (40th Anniver…

Columbia Legacy (3 CD, DVD, 2 LP box)   Miles Davis...

Read More.....
Art Pepper – Meets The Rhythm Section ★★★★★

Art Pepper – Meets The Rhythm Section ★★…

Contemporary/Original Jazz Classic OJC Remasters Art Pepper (as), Red Garland...

Read More.....
Anita O'Day – Sings for Oscar; Cool Heat ★★★★★

Anita O'Day – Sings for Oscar; Cool Heat…

Poll Winners Records Pete Candoli, Conte Candoli, Conrad Gozzo, Uan Rasey...

Read More.....
Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else ★★★★★

Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else ★★★…

Poll Winners Records Julian Cannonball Adderley (as), Miles Davis (t), Nat...

Read More.....
Shelly Manne And His Men – Complete Live At The Black Hawk ★★★★★

Shelly Manne And His Men – Complete Live…

American Jazz Classics Joe Gordon (t), Richie Kamuca (ts), Victor...

Read More.....
Jeremy Pelt Quintet – Men of Honor ★★★★★

Jeremy Pelt Quintet – Men of Honor ★★★★★

High Note Jeremy Pelt (t, flhn), JD Allen (ts), Danny Grissett...

Read More.....
Miles Davis – The Complete Miles Davis Columbia Album Collection ★★★★★

Miles Davis – The Complete Miles Davis C…

Columbia / Legacy (70 CDs and DVD) Miles Davis (t, keys)...

Read More.....
Gary Burton and Chick Corea – Crystal Silence: The ECM Recordings 1972-79 ★★★★★

Gary Burton and Chick Corea – Crystal Si…

ECM Gary Burton (vbs) and Chick Corea (p) This four-CD set brings...

Read More.....
Keith Jarrett – Testament (Paris/London) ★★★★★

Keith Jarrett – Testament (Paris/London)…

ECM Keith Jarrett (p). Rec. 2008 Keith Jarrett is one of a...

Read More.....
Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um (50th Anniversary Edition) ★★★★★

Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um (50th Anni…

Sony Legacy Mingus (b, p) with various line-ups incl. Richard...

Read More.....
Miles Davis – Sketches Of Spain (50th Anniversary Edition) ★★★★★

Miles Davis – Sketches Of Spain (50th An…

Sony Legacy Miles Davis (t), 21-piece big bands and Gil Evans...

Read More.....
The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out (50th Anniversary Legacy Edition) ★★★★★

The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out (50t…

CBS-Legacy Dave Brubeck (p), Paul Desmond (as), Eugene Wright (b)...

Read More.....
Max Roach – Complete 1958-59 Plus Four Sessions ★★★★★

Max Roach – Complete 1958-59 Plus Four S…

Jazz Connection Roach (d), Booker Little (t), George Coleman (ts)...

Read More.....
Wes Montgomery – The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery ★★★★★

Wes Montgomery – The Incredible Jazz Gui…

Riverside Wes Montgomery (g), Tommy Flanagan (p), Percy Heath (b) and...

Read More.....

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

Charles Hayward, Sven-Åke Johansson and Weasel Walter represent percussive sub-current at Paris Sonic Protest fest… https://t.co/QILWUppxU4
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Brother Ahh embalming spirits in myrrh this Friday https://t.co/AqGhRCpxLz @OmnianTweets @MFGrecordings @mysterylesson @k_le_gendre
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Shobaleader One frenzied and fired-up at Village Underground - #drumnbassdiscodubjazzfunkthrash… https://t.co/lSrl22YXNa
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Cline Meets Horn For Small Hours Summit On RSD Day Single https://t.co/9q86BpHHzk @bluenoterecords @nelscline… https://t.co/7h0UXBiG09
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Trumpet star on the rise Freddie Gavita will launch his debut album TRANSIENT on 19 April at Ronnie Scott's Bar… https://t.co/UGJZNXuifb
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter