Wes Montgomery



Few musicians in jazz history were more innovative and influential than guitar legend Wes Montgomery. He dispensed with the plectrum and developed a thumb-picking style, played octave and chordal passages with the fluency and nuance of single lines, and organized these astounding techniques in solos of daring detail and sustained shape.
Wes was the second of three musician brothers from Indianapolis, and the last to make his name nationally. He had briefly worked  with Lionel Hampton from 1948-50. but then he returned home, to raise his family, work a day job as a welder; and develop his revolutionary style in one and sometimes two gigs a night. His brothers, electric bass innovator Monk and vibist/pianist Buddy, had moved to San Francisco and were enjoying success as half of the Mastersounds when Wes, still working organ gigs at home, joined them on several late-Fifties recording sessions. It was word of mouth from musicians like Cannonball Adderley  that created a groundswell of interest in the guitarist and led to his Riverside recording contract in 1959.

The rest, which was all too brief given his unexpected death from a heart attack nine years later; was guitar and jazz history. He was an immediate success with critics, became the model for an entire new generation of guitarists and found himself just as eagerly celebrated by the general public. For a time, Montgomery retained the local trio featuring organist Mel Rhyne that was heard on his first recordings, but soon he would re-unite with Monk and Buddy as the Montgomery Brothers. Despite studio partnerships with some of the greatest players of the era (including Adderley, Tommy Flanagan, Milt Jackson, and Jimmy Smith) and a couple of immortal live recordings with Wynton Kelly, not to mention an invitation to join John Coltrane's band (then a sextet with Eric Dolphy ) that was briefly accepted in 1961, most of Montgomery's remaining work was in bands with Rhyne or his brothers. As Montgomery moved to larger labels his albums began to appear in the upper reaches of the pop charts.


Go to Wes Montgomery's page at emusic for free MP3 downloads
Recommended recordings:
The Wes Montgomery Trio OJC 034-2- Riverside 1156
Wes Montgomery Trio
The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery OJC 036-2 - Riverside 9320
The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
Movin'along  OJC 089-2 - Riverside 9342
Movin' Along
Full House  OJC 106-2 - Riverside 9434
Full House (Live) [Remastered]
Portrait of Wes  OJC 144-2 - Riverside 9492
Portrait of Wes
So much Guitar OJC 233-2 - Riverside 9382
So Much Guitar!
Boss Guitar  OJC 261-2 - Riverside 9459
Boss Guitar
Guitar on the Go OJC 489-2 - Riverside 9494
Bags meets Wes (w. Milt Jackson) OJC 234-2 - Riverside 9407
Bags Meets Wes!
Far Wes Blue Note 94475
Far Wes
Finger Pickin' Blue Note 37987
Some of the Best Contemporary Jazz Guitarists
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