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Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | Original Jazz Classics

Distinctions Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
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Jazz - Released October 13, 2017 | Riverside

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On The Wes Montgomery Trio – A Dynamic New Sound: Guitar Organ Drums, his third album which appeared on Riverside Records in 1959, Wes Montgomery confirmed that it was he who caused the earth to tremble with his jazz guitar. And this superb disc cements his name just that bit more in amongst those of the greats. He is joined by Melvin Rhyne on the organ and Paul Parker on the drums adding a simple accompaniment, without ever treading on his toes nor attracting too much attention. Because of course, the hero of these sessions produced on 5th and 6th October 1959, at Reeves Sound Studios in New York, by Orin Keepnews, will always be Wes Montgomery and no one but Wes Montgomery! His style, virtuosic and soaked with the blues, brought a fresh sound to this instrument that was previously dominated by Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow. And in his solos such as ‘Round Midnight, the guitarist from Indianapolis slickly unfurls his refined sound, his unique style and his enchanting phrasing. A few months later, with The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, still with Riverside Records, the affair would take on a whole new look thanks to Tommy Flanagan, Percy Heath and Albert "Tootie" Heath, sidemen of a higher calibre… © MD/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Verve

Wes Montgomery's debut for Verve, although better from a jazz standpoint than his later A&M releases, is certainly in the same vein. The emphasis is on his tone, his distinctive octaves, and his melody statements. Some of the material (such as "People" and "Matchmaker, Matchmaker") are pop tunes of the era and the brass orchestra (arranged by Johnny Pate) is purely in the background, but there are some worthy performances, chiefly the two-part "Movin' Wes," "Born to Be Blue," and "West Coast Blues." ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released March 31, 2015 | Riverside

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1986 | Verve

Wes Montgomery's last album for Verve (other than an exciting collaboration with Jimmy Smith) is a so-so orchestral date featuring arrangements by Don Sebesky. The material (which includes "Sunny" and "California Dreaming") is strictly pop fluff of the era and the great guitarist has little opportunity to do much other than state the melody in his trademark octaves. This record was perfect for AM radio of the period. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released December 3, 1966 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released June 21, 2019 | Resonance Records

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Jazz - Released October 13, 2017 | Riverside

Hi-Res Booklet
On The Wes Montgomery Trio – A Dynamic New Sound: Guitar Organ Drums, his third album which appeared on Riverside Records in 1959, Wes Montgomery confirmed that it was he who caused the earth to tremble with his jazz guitar. And this superb disc cements his name just that bit more in amongst those of the greats. He is joined by Melvin Rhyne on the organ and Paul Parker on the drums adding a simple accompaniment, without ever treading on his toes nor attracting too much attention. Because of course, the hero of these sessions produced on 5th and 6th October 1959, at Reeves Sound Studios in New York, by Orin Keepnews, will always be Wes Montgomery and no one but Wes Montgomery! His style, virtuosic and soaked with the blues, brought a fresh sound to this instrument that was previously dominated by Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow. And in his solos such as ‘Round Midnight, the guitarist from Indianapolis slickly unfurls his refined sound, his unique style and his enchanting phrasing. A few months later, with The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, still with Riverside Records, the affair would take on a whole new look thanks to Tommy Flanagan, Percy Heath and Albert "Tootie" Heath, sidemen of a higher calibre… © MD/Qobuz
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Pop - Released January 1, 2004 | Fantasy Records

Issued in 1967 as Wes Montgomery was approaching the peak of his commercial success, this LP swipes four tracks each from the Fantasy releases The Montgomery Brothers and The Montgomery Brothers in Canada. With Verve's success with Montgomery in mind, Fantasy's tape editors couldn't keep their cotton-pickin' hands off the masters, so they load each track with ghostly reverb and do some injudicious slicing and snipping. For instance, Buddy Montgomery's piano solo is cut entirely from "June in January," and on "Lover Man," which features Wes Montgomery only, the single-string portion of his solo is cut out altogether, skipping right to the octaves. The titles states "Wes' Best," but you'd probably rather hear overdubbed orchestras than some other guy's idea of what constitutes a satisfying improvised session. The editors were inconsistent, too, leaving tracks like "Snowfall" alone, complete with inconvenient distractions like Buddy Montgomery's attractive vibes solo. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Verve

Taking the listener on a smoother, rather than bumpier, ride down the moonlight highway of jazz is Wes Montgomery, a chief architect of the world's guitar virtuoso scene. Not only is his brilliant command of the six-string present here, so is the vivid color tones of notes and blue notes played between. Backed up by a hauntingly beautiful and mesmerizing orchestra conducted and arranged by Don Sebesky, the music almost lifts the listener off his feet into a dreamy, water-like landscape. The atmosphere is serene and enchanting, such as a romantic evening for two under starlight, and certainly a romantic eve merits the accompaniment of this record. The sounds are soft, smooth, and silky, and Montgomery addresses full leadership of his graceful melodic style, fronting close to 20 members of a orchestra perhaps best described resonant and sweeping. So too are the sweeping note flows of Montgomery's guitar, and his surprising fluidness towards the art of comping, a necessary trait of the jazz guitar virtuoso. Even the unforgettable Jim Hall can be tickled and intrigued through a listen of these influential records, as for all amateur and professional guitar musicians. "A Quiet Thing" is perhaps the most somber, peaceful, and smooth piece on the record, demonstrating Montgomery's love of quiet, and how much the idea of not playing at all brings music to the listeners. The charming sounds of orchestral violas, violins, cellos, and harp are sent ablaze to create a pleasant atmosphere, either for a quick morning get up, get ready for work, or evening dining setting. "Here's That Rainy Day" is an up-tempo bossa nova tune that resonates with Montgomery's enticing chordal changes and blissful phrasing, not to mention the blend of harp and strings lays the groundwork for a perfect rainy day inside, with drops pattering at the windows and fires aglow. The recording engineer did a wonderful job with this album. The sound quality is clear and lush, and, overall, this collection of mid-'60s cool jazz is a delight to listen too, once and again. ~ Shawn M. Haney
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1967 | A&M

By the time Wes Montgomery recorded this album (his debut for A&M), he was a major name in the pop world. Montgomery's melodic renditions of current pop hits caught on and were played regularly on Top 40 radio. In most cases the guitarist did little more than play the melody, using his distinctive octaves, and it was enough to make him saleable. Of his three A&M recordings, A Day in the Life (the first one) was by far the best and, although the jazz content is almost nil, the results are pleasing as background music. "Windy" was a bit of a hit; the other selections (which find Montgomery backed by muzaky strings arranged by Don Sebesky) include "Watch What Happens," "California Nights," "Eleanor Rigby" and the title cut. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1966 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1968 | A&M Jazz

Wes Montgomery acceded to the whims of producer Creed Taylor for this, one of the very first CTI productions that would, over the next decade, popularize jazz with string backdrops or rhythm & blues beats. Much to either the delight or chagrin of urban or traditional jazz fans, the music changed, and Montgomery was in the middle, though his delightful playing was essentially unchanged. On the plus side, the legendary guitarist was allowed to collaborate with great musicians like bassist Ron Carter, pianist Herbie Hancock, flutist Hubert Laws, and percussionist Ray Barretto. While the small orchestral trappings never dominate this session, the seeds for a more grandiose style of music had been planted with the release of this date in 1968. The arrangements of Don Sebesky are for the most part pretty, unobtrusive, and pleasant but lack groove and soul in the main. "Wind Song" is exactly as its title suggests, a light funk loaded up with chords and woodwinds. The melody of "Georgia on My Mind" is barely stated although the strings are subtle; "I Say a Little Prayer" is a sappy tune made into Muzak; oboe and cello bring "When I Look Into Your Eyes" into an ultimately maudlin arena; and Lalo Schifrin's theme from "The Fox" has the same instrumental complement, more film noir, and parallel to Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Theme to the Eulipions" if you compare them side by side. The best material is the light funk of Montgomery's original "Up & at It" in a small ensemble, nice enough, and the roots of so-called "smooth" jazz. The bright samba "Know It All" best showcases the guitarist and Hancock's luminous piano, reflecting the classic "No More Blues," while "Goin' on to Detroit" is a typical Montgomery-styled, cool road song featuring Laws. In may real and important ways, this is the beginning of the end for Montgomery as a jazz artist, and the inception of bachelor pad lounge/mood music that only lasted for a brief time. This recording, with no extra material, alternate takes, or bonus tracks, cannot compare to Charlie Parker with strings. It does fall in that category of recordings where the musicians chose to produce, rather than create their personal brand of jazz, and is at the very least an historical footnote. ~ Michael G. Nastos
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | Fantasy Records

Because it was recorded between two of Wes Montgomery's best-known albums (Incredible Jazz Guitar and So Much Guitar), this particular LP is a bit underrated. The great guitarist is teamed with flutist James Clay (who switches to tenor on Montgomery's "So Do It!"), pianist Victor Feldman, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Louis Hayes for four standards (highlighted by Clifford Brown's "Sandu" and "Body and Soul"), Sam Jones' "Says You," and two Montgomery originals. This is an often overlooked gem. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Fantasy Records

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Jazz - Released February 20, 2018 | nagel heyer records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Fantasy Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Riverside

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Riverside

A casual peruser of conventional jazz wisdom might guess that a Wes Montgomery Plays for Lovers album would surely draw from Universal's A&M and/or Verve holdings. But no, this compilation is part of Concord's look-alike series of that name. Thus, these are Riverside sides from the first few years of Montgomery's recording career, and besides providing a soundtrack for a romantic evening, they prove that Wes Montgomery's taste for a tender ballad -- with the tunes often stated in his patented octaves -- was always there practically from the beginning. Concord didn't have to strain as it gathered material to support this concept, drawing from nine of Montgomery's Riverside albums and finding ballads in all. "Prelude to a Kiss" and "All the Way" come from that premonition of future commercial enterprises, Fusion!, where the romantic mood is a given and Jimmy Jones' charts make a small orchestra sound lusher than its numbers would indicate. Some of the great guitarist's collaborations with other notables also populate this collection. "Stairway to the Stars" features the voluble Milt Jackson on vibes, with Montgomery playing gentle octaves in the center. "If I Should Lose You" has Montgomery Brothers Monk (bass) and Buddy (piano) backing Wes, who is always mellow and songful, and he and his brothers fit right into the George Shearing sound in the sole midtempo track on the CD, "Darn That Dream." Full House, the sole (and celebrated) live album of Montgomery's Riverside period, is represented by "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," where he does little more than tenderly state the tune. The album closes with Montgomery's only recorded a cappella solo track, "While We're Young," whose ultra-mellow mood underplays even the most understated ballads in the rest of the package. By no means should this be your only Wes Montgomery Riverside album, nor is it the best-paced Montgomery anthology out there. But those who cotton to his quiet ballad side ought to find a lot of concentrated pleasure. ~ Richard S. Ginell