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Wes Montgomery

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 then Montgomery returned to Indianapolis, where he was in obscurity during much of the 1950s, working a day job and playing at clubs most nights. He recorded with his brothers vibraphonist Buddy and electric bassist Monk during 1957-1959 and made his first Riverside album (1959) in a trio with organist Melvin Rhyne. In 1960 the release of his album The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery made him famous in the jazz world. Other than a brief time playing with the John Coltrane Sextet (which also included Eric Dolphy) later in the year, Wes would be a leader for the rest of his life.

Montgomery's recordings can be easily divided into three periods. His Riverside dates (1959-1963) are his most spontaneous jazz outings, small-group sessions with such sidemen as Tommy Flanagan, James Clay, Victor Feldman, Hank Jones, Johnny Griffin, and Mel Rhyne. The one exception was the ironically titled Fusion!, a ballad date with a string section. All of the Riverside recordings have been reissued in a massive 12-CD box set. With the collapse of Riverside, Montgomery moved over to Verve, where during 1964-1966 he recorded an interesting series of mostly orchestral dates with arranger Don Sebesky and producer Creed Taylor. These records were generally a good balance between jazz and accessibility, even if the best performances were small-group outings with either the Wynton Kelly Trio or Jimmy Smith.

In 1967 Wes signed with Creed Taylor at A&M and during 1967-1968 he recorded three best-selling albums that found him merely stating simple pop melodies while backed by strings and woodwinds. His jazz fans were upset, but Montgomery's albums were played on AM radio during the period. He helped introduce listeners to jazz, and his live performances were as freewheeling as his earlier Riverside dates. Unfortunately at the height of his success, he died of a heart attack. However, Montgomery's influence is still felt on many young guitarists. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Echoes Of Indiana Avenue

1. Diablo's Dance

2. Round Midnight

3. Straight No Chaser

4. Nica's Dream

5. Darn That Dream

6. Take The "A" Train

7. Misty

8. Body And Soul

9. After Hours Blues

x

Track List: Plays For Lovers

1. (I Don't Stand A) Ghost Of A Chance With You

4. Prelude To A Kiss

6. Polka Dots And Moonbeams

8. I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face

9. Darn That Dream

10. All The Way

11. In Your Own Sweet Way

x

Track List: The Best Of Wes Montgomery: 20th Century Masters, The Millennium Collection

1. Caravan

2. The Shadow Of Your Smile

3. Bumpin'

4. Goin' Out Of My Head

5. Tequila

6. California Dreaming

7. Windy

8. When A Man Loves A Woman

9. Wind Song

10. Road Song

11. Fly Me To The Moon

x

Track List: Finest Hour

1. Bumpin' On Sunset

2. The Shadow Of Your Smile

3. Up And At It

4. Once I Loved

5. Milestones

6. Movin' Wes -- Part 1

7. Tequila

8. Watch What Happens

9. Bumpin'

10. Impressions

11. Goin' Out Of My Head

12. Sunny

13. A Day In The Life

14. Down Here On The Ground

15. Twisted Blues

16. Road Song

x

Track List: Dangerous

1. If I Should Lose You (Take 2-Alternate)

2. S.O.S (Take 2-Alternate)

3. Yesterday's Child

4. Dangerous

5. Lolita

6. Blues Riff [take 7]

7. Stella By Starlight (Take 1)

8. Stella By Starlight (Take 2)

9. On Green Dolphin Street

x

Track List: Ultimate Wes Montgomery

1. Twisted Blues

2. Baby, It's Cold Outside

3. Caravan

4. Tequila

5. West Coast Blues

6. 'Round Midnight

7. Impressions

8. People

9. Road Song

10. Matchmaker, Matchmaker

11. Mi Cosa

12. King Of The Road

13. Boss City

14. Four On Six

x

Track List: Impressions: The Verve Jazz Sides

Disc 1

1. West Coast Blues

2. Caravan

3. Twisted Blues

4. Golden Earrings

5. Naptown Blues

6. Sundown

7. Milestones

8. 'round Midnight

9. Mellow Mood

10. James And Wes

11. O.G.D. (Aka "Road Song")

12. Wives And Lovers

13. Portrait Of Jennie

14. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top

15. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top (Reprise)

Disc 2

1. Unit 7

2. Four On Six

3. What's New

4. No Blues (Live)

5. If You Could See Me Now (Live)

6. Willow Weep For Me (Live)

7. Impressions (Live)

8. Oh, You Crazy Moon (Live)

9. Four On Six (Live)

10. Misty (Live)

x

Track List: Jazz 'round Midnight

1. Born To Be Blue

2. Mi Cosa ( My Thing)

3. End Of A Love Affair

4. Bumpin'

5. Midnight Mood

6. Golden Earrings

7. 'Round Midnight

8. People

9. Theodora

10. What's New

11. Maybe September

12. It Was A Very Good Year

13. Oh, You Crazy Moon

14. My One And Only Love

15. Misty

x

Track List: Verve Jazz Masters 14

1. Goin' Out Of My Head

2. Impressions

3. My One And Only Love

4. Tequila

5. Bumpin'

6. What The World Needs Now Is Love

7. No Blues

8. The Shadow Of Your Smile

9. Caravan

10. Bumpin' On Sunset

11. Twisted Blues

12. Oh, You Crazy Moon

13. Con Alma

14. The Thumb

x

Track List: Compact Jazz - Wes Montgomery Plays The Blues

1. West Coast Blues

2. The Thumb

3. Born To Be Blue

4. Unit 7

5. Naptown Blues

6. 'round Midnight

7. Sundown

8. Willow Weep For Me

9. Twisted Blues

10. James And Wes

11. Tear It Down

x

Track List: Road Song

1. Road Song

2. Greensleeves

3. Fly Me To The Moon

4. Yesterday

5. I'll Be Back

6. Scarborough Fair

7. Green Leaves Of Summer

8. Serene

9. Where Have All The Flowers Gone

x

Track List: Down Here On The Ground

1. Windsong

2. Georgia On My Mind

3. The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener

4. Down Here On The Ground

5. Up And At It

6. Goin' On To Detroit

7. I Say A Litle Prayer For You

8. When I Look In Your Eyes

9. Know It All

10. The Fox

x

Track List: California Dreaming

1. California Dreaming

2. Sundown

3. Oh, You Crazy Moon

4. More More More

5. Without You

6. Winds Of Barcelona

7. Sunny (Alternate Take)

8. Sunny

9. Green Peppers

10. Mr. Walker

11. South Of The Border

x

Track List: Tequila

1. Tequila

2. Little Child (Daddy Dear)

3. What The World Needs Now Is Love

4. The Big Hurt

5. Bumpin' On Sunset

6. Insensatez (How Insensitive)

7. The Thumb

8. Midnight Mood

9. Wives And Lovers

10. Tequila (Alternative Take)

11. The Big Hurt (Alternative Take)

12. Bumpin' On Sunset (Alternative Take)

x

Track List: Smokin' At The Half Note (Bonus Tracks)

1. No Blues

2. If You Could See Me Now

3. Unit 7

4. Four On Six (Live)

5. What's New?

6. Willow Weep For Me (Live)

7. Portrait Of Jennie

8. Surrey With The Fringe On Top

9. Oh, You Crazy Moon

10. Misty

11. Impressions (Live)

x

Track List: Wes Montgomery Bumpin'

1. Bumpin'

2. Tear It Down

3. A Quit Thing

4. Con Alma

5. The Shadow Of Your Smile

6. Mi Cosa

7. Here's That Rainy Day

8. Musty

9. Just Walkin'

10. My One And Only Love

11. Just Walkin'

x

Track List: Boss Guitar

1. Besame Mucho

2. Besame Mucho (Take 2)

3. Dearly Beloved

4. Days Of Wine And Roses

5. The Trick Bag

6. Canadian Sunset

7. Fried Pies

9. The Breeze And I

10. For Heaven's Sake

x

Track List: Pretty Blue

1. All The Way

2. Pretty Blue

3. God Bless The Child [take 4]

4. God Bless The Child [take 2]

5. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

6. Girl Next Door

7. My Romance

8. Tune-Up [take 5]

9. Tune-Up [take 4]

10. Prelude To A Kiss

11. Somewhere

12. Baubles, Bangles And Bead

13. 'round Midnight

14. Whisper Not

15. Too Late Now

16. Canadian Sunset

17. For Heaven's Sake

18. Days Of Wine And Roses

19. Yesterday's Child

20. Dreamsville

21. For All We Know

x

Track List: So Much Guitar!

1. Twisted Blues

2. Cotton Tail

3. I Wish I Knew

4. I'm Just Lucky So And So

5. Repetition

7. While We're Young

8. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)

9. Jeannine

10. Snowfall

11. Angel Eyes

12. Barbados

13. This Love Of Mine

15. You Don't Know What Love Is

16. Beaux Arts

x

Track List: The Incredible Jazz Guitar

1. Airegin

2. D-Natural Blues

3. Polka Dots And Moonbeams

4. Four On Six

5. West Coast Blues

6. In Your Own Sweet Way

8. Gone With The Wind

x

Track List: Movin' Along

1. Movin' Along

2. Tune Up

3. Tune-Up (Take 9)

4. I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You

5. Sandu

6. Body And Soul

7. Body And Soul (Take 2)

8. So Do It

9. Says You

x

Track List: Far Wes

1. Far Wes

2. Leila

3. Old Folks

4. Wes' Tune

5. Hymn For Carl

6. Montgomeryland Funk

7. Stompin' At The Savoy

8. Monk's Shop

9. Summertime

10. Falling In Love With Love

11. Renie

x

Track List: Ultimate Jazz

Comments

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lol.... keys..... gravity.... lol
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Such great toons
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Are there any keys in jazz or is it just tonal gravity?
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goo music is always spelled correctly. I drive a ford, by the way.
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That's spelled Porsche. Hahaha
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I saw Wes Montgomery every night that he appeared at Shelly's Manhole in Hollywood in the 60's. I have worn out 3 copies of Bumpin' and my personalized license plate that was on every one of my 6 Porches is Bumpin. He is my all time favorite artist. I also have every album that he recorded.
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Top quality
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Wes is Amazing
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Wes is quentessenti a l 1960's cool jazz. He takes me back to Mom and Dad's Friday night card parties, backyard family cookouts, basically, better, simpler times; (at least for a kid with great parents who exposed their kids to great music. Wes Montgomery was the man.
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I listened to Wes when I was a teenager. I will never forget him
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I can have the most bad stress-fille d day. But when I begin listening to Wes, it all just melts away.
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I WAS VERY FORTUNATE AS A THIRTEEN YEAR OLD TO HAVE MY FATHER TO SUBTLY INTRODUCE ME TO W.M., FOE IN THE SIXTIES, THE TRANSISTOR RADIO WAS HAT WE USED EXTENSIVELY, BUT HE HAD THE ROAD SONGS AND I JUST FELL IN LOVE WITH HIS MASTERY OF THE GUITAR, WHETHER IN THE TRIO OR WITH THE SYMPHONIC ACCOMPANIMEN T , HE W BOSS, PERIOD AND STILL IS DUE TO EVERYONE ELSE THAT FOLLOWED HIM, WELL, THAT IS WHAT THEY DID AND ARE STILL DOING, BEHIND THE MASTER!!! LOVE AND PRAYERS, ARON SR.
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Lennie's on the Turnpike - Peabody, Mass. Summer, 1965. 3 buddies, who were also attending Berklee, and I saw Wes there. We were mesmerized. Paul Chambers was on bass that night. The two of them were in the pocket every set. Wes live was far better than anything recorded. Some folks @ the table next to us were whispering during the performance. Lennie told them to shut up or leave. Not a peep the rest of the evening.
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I was fortunate enough to see Wes at the Phila Arena a month before we lost him. He sounds as good if not better today. My all time favorite guitar player... From Bro Jug
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Epic!!!
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Wes' has prolific style. He has legions of followers.
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An all time favorite of mine.....Gre a t music, easy listening. Pandora, you are to much! I am glad I found you. You have brought back many of my favorite musicians into my life...
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@ Hal I would often play both guitarists tunes back to back on my radio show to showcase their similarities and beauty
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@ Hal Both were/are awesome. Enjoy both to the fullest!
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because it actually works. You will be missed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. However if u don't post this u will die in two days. Now you've started so you can't stop now this is so scary. Put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters!Leav e a coment!!!!!! God will show his utter wrath upon you all if you don't!!!
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Many many imitators of Wes...Wes was a true innovator so far as I know. Not surprisingly , the idea for his style came when he listened to his wife criticize his style. Remember that men...listen to your wife...
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great artist...my FIRST jazz guy
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Michael A. Missiras, Ph.D.
Trumpet/Corn e t / C o m p o s e r
NYC/ arctic1974@g m a i l . c o m

Sam Jones great tune. My favorite "blues with a bridge" type tune to play!! Excellent performance here.
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Love his bossa-novas!
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migueltmack
Un gran guitarrista ....mi ídolo......W e s
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story is; wes's wife needed wes to quiet down at night when he was practicing, so the kids could sleep. Thats why he went with the thumb, creating his soft and smooth sound, and his babies slept on
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Oh where oh where would jazz be without Wes Montgomery
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I have loved Wes Montgomery since the 1960's when my father bought me my 1st album.
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Yes, Wes!!!
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An amazing Jazz Guitarist who had a signature style..... Bumpin on sunset is one of my alltime favorites.
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I started listening to jazz at the age of 16. Fell in love with Bump in on sunset. Saw Wes live at Memory Lane Supper Club a few few months before he passed. I was heartbroken. Still play his music.
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Mr Montgomery absolutely KILLS IT on INSENSATEZ !!!!! WOW ��
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lifu_lin_ok
kool


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Wes Montgomery has a style that is so unique, you would know by the sound or beat.....Ver y kool man, very kool.
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nrivers16
Four on six and and 5 will get u 20 hee hee
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bumpin on the sun set
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Considered by some to be one of the world's greatest guitarist to ever play guitar. The sounds that he helped to bring about, are still being played even today , his contribution s to the jazz world of music are being felt even now, a true pioneer in the field of playing , jazz guitar. A talent that comes along once in a lifetime, his music stands thru the test of time, being enjoyed even now, by the millions of fans of this great man's music, an immensely talented gentleman



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Love that tone.
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got dayum! i don't know what else to say about this...
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Love him and his undeniable style
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Love this man....an original
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Wes started playing the guitar at the age of 19. He learned by imitating Charlie Christian and got his first gigs by imitating him. Wes said one of his keys to success is he knew every chord and all of its inversions. Wow
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His style is sexy, smooth and beautiful. I have never heard anyone else to equal his style. Needless to say I Love it.
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Montgomery was George Benson's Idol! He had an impact on many Artists, including James Brown!

J.B.'s lead Guitarist Jimmy Nolan was often instructed by James to play like Wes Montgomery! I Love his Music!
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melda.tate
If I'm not mistaken, I believe Wes Montgomery had some influence on George Benson and his success as a guitarist. They are both excellent musicians.
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He was 1 of my grandfathers favorites... . His music brings back great childhood memories.
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A day in life....1
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A great player with a unique approach and a style all his own. Most think of his octave-runs though there is much more to his playing than just that and his thumb. His technique of playing with his thumb gave his tone a warmth that is so pleasing. Love this man's playing. Wish I had one of his signature Gibson's too!
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pam749
Gone to Sone! When Music was Music not tracks.
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steve swallow was a great asset on bass
Show more

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