The Incredible Jazz Guitar Of Wes Montgomery was first released in 1960, since becoming a staple for jazz guitarists and often considered Montomery’s finest work. Opening with a cover of Sonny Rollins’ Airegin, Wes plays with extreme virtuosity and skill throughout, from his reserved and melodic interpretation of Polka Dots And Moonbeams, to the effortlessly cool original, Mister Walker.
With backing from veteran pianist Tommy Flanagan (of Giant Steps fame), and brothers Percy and Albert Heath on bass and drums respectively, this is a seminal and timeless record. This new edition features an updated cover and insert celebrating the work of photographer Jean-Pierre Leloir, who took pictures of many jazz musicians in the 1950s and 60s.
There are also six bonus tracks, including an alternative version of D-Natural Blues featuring Wes’s brothers Buddy Montgomery on piano and vibraphone, and Monk Montgomery on bass. Four of the bonus tracks feature Wes in a trio format with Melvin Rhyne on organ and Paul Parker on drums which, while excellent tracks, do clash somewhat with the original feel of the album. Regardless, Horace Silver’s Ecaroh and Wes’s Jingles are particular highlights.
The impact of Wes Montgomery’s guitar playing is immeasurable, not only in jazz, but in the evolution of the instrument itself, and this album really is must have for any guitarist, jazz fan or not. If you don’t already own a copy of The Incredible Jazz Guitar Of Wes Montgomery, then this version is certainly worth getting, as it captures a classic era of jazz guitar, and the finest work of one of the guitar’s greatest players.
Airegin; D-Natural Blues; Polka Dots And Moonbeams; Four On Six; West Coast Blues; In Your Own Sweet Way; Mister Walker; Gone With The Wind; Whisper Not; Ecaroh; Missile Blues; Jingles; D-Natural Blues; West Coast Blues (76.07)
Montgomery (g); Tommy Flanagan (p); Percy Heath (b); Albert Heath (d); and others. New York and San Francisco, 1959/60.
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