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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: 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)

3. Yesterday's Child

5. Lolita

9. On Green Dolphin Street

x

Track List: Ultimate Wes Montgomery

1. Twisted Blues

3. Caravan

4. Tequila

6. 'Round Midnight

7. Impressions

9. Road Song

11. Mi Cosa

13. Boss City

14. Four On Six

x

Track List: Impressions: The Verve Jazz Sides

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

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: Jazz 'round Midnight

2. Mi Cosa ( My Thing)

3. End Of A Love Affair

4. Bumpin'

5. Midnight Mood

6. Golden Earrings

7. 'Round Midnight

12. It Was A Very Good Year

13. Oh, You Crazy Moon

14. My One And Only Love

15. Misty

x

Track List: Compact Jazz - Wes Montgomery Plays The Blues

2. The Thumb

5. Naptown Blues

6. 'round Midnight

8. Willow Weep For Me

9. Twisted Blues

10. James And Wes

11. Tear It Down

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

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

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

6. In Your Own Sweet Way

8. Gone With The Wind

x

Track List: Movin' Along

1. Movin' Along

2. Tune Up

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

5. Sandu

6. Body And Soul

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

Comments

Report as inappropriate
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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DON'T L@@K 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!!! GOD IS UPON US
Report as inappropriate
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!!!
Report as inappropriate
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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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



Report as inappropriate
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
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Love this music....... . . t h i s is music!
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If Wes learned guitar in 1943 and Gabor Szabo was born in 36, simple math and logic would suggest that Szabo was influenced by Wes rather than a nearly grown man being influenced by a 7 year old.
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niles52
one of my favorite guitarists.
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Nectar!
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Is one of the greats... I just luv his music... ;-)
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jgubitz
I used to listen to him on a small FM station in Lansing,Illi n o i s in the late 60's. i had this new am/fm radio and found the station. They played a lot of his guitar music.
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riicr48
Not sure how I ever discovered Wes Montgomery but one day I heard the song bumpin I had to go buy this album, when I play the album, I could not believe how great this guitarist wss
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jsprag8054
The whole family continues to be musical. I have the pleasure of knowing and playing with his nephew Phil Ragland, a fabulous bass player.
Report as inappropriate
rickp733
Hal, I always assumed it was the other way around. I had one Gabor Szabo album on 4-track tape and played it to death back in high school (1967ish), but at the same time was listening to my Dad's Wes Montgomery albums. Given that Charlie Christian invented this way of playing (def. NOT Django-esque ) , my guess would be that Szabo was influenced by Wes. It'd be nice to know -- I didn't find anything after a quick Internet search...
Report as inappropriate
I may not be popular for saying this, but surely somewhere along the line Wes Montgomery must have heard Gábor Szabó (March 8, 1936 - February 26, 1982). Listening to Gabor, I think to myself that Wes sounds just like him...
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A true legend before his time....
He played with his thumb then; what people are still unable to do without a pick today!!!!!
Before his time, why he left so soon...Play on Wes With Miles and the Count and the crew!
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I love smooth jazz..its a great relaxer..
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