Wes Montgomery - Episode 1Montgomery toured with vibraphonist Lionel Hampton's orchestra from July 1948 to January 1950, and can be heard on recordings from this period. Montgomery then returned to Indianapolis and did not record again until December 1957, when he took part in a session that included his brothers Monk and Buddy, as well as trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Cannonball Adderley heard Montgomery in an Indianapolis club and was so impressed that the next day called record producer Orrin Keepnews, who signed Montgomery to a recording contract with Riverside Records. Adderley later recorded with Montgomery on his Pollwinners album.
|Four on Six||Wes Montgomery||Incredible Jazz Guitar of WM||1960|
|Seven Come Eleven||Charlie Christian/Benny Goodman||1939|
|Solo Flight||Charlie Christian/Benny Goodman||1941|
|Billie’s Bounce||Wes Montgomery||Finger Pickin’||1957|
|Finger Pickin’||Wes Montgomery||Finger Pickin’||1957|
|Wes’ Tune||Wes Montgomery||Montgomery Land||1958|
|Airegin||Wes Montgomery||Incredible Jazz Guitar of WM||1960|
Wes Montgomery - Episode 2Montgomery’s real career started with a series of albums on Riverside Records. Montgomery recorded with his brothers and various other musicians, including the Wynton Kelly Trio. Wes’ 1st important album, The Incredible Guitar of Wes Montgomery, was released in 1960 and was followed by a number of outstanding records that established him as the premier jazz guitarist of his day. Interestingly enough, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane asked Montgomery to join his band after a jam session ca. 1961, but Montgomery decided to continue leading his own band. He was the quintessential hard bop guitarist and it is interesting to speculate how a collaboration between Coltrane and Montgomery might have sounded.
|Round Midnight||Wes Montgomery||The Wes Montgomery Trio||1959|
|Gone With the Wind||Wes Montgomery||Incredible Jazz Guitar of WM||1960|
|D Natural Blues||Wes Montgomery||Incredible Jazz Guitar of WM||1960|
|S.O.S.||Wes Montgomery||Full House||1962|
|I’ve Grown Accustomed…||Wes Montgomery||Full House||1962|
|Full House||Wes Montgomery||Full House||1962|
Wes Montgomery - Episode 3In the early 1960’s Wes continued to play in the hard bop style and his records were of the highest quality. In 1964 Montgomery moved to Verve Records for two years. His stay at Verve yielded a number of albums where he was featured with an orchestra---brass-dominated (Movin' Wes), string-oriented (Bumpin', Tequila), or a mix of both (Goin' Out of My Head, California Dreamin').
He never abandoned jazz entirely in the Verve years, whether with a few selections on most of the Verve albums, or by such classic recordings as Smokin' at the Half Note (1965) or the 2 albums he made with jazz organist Jimmy Smith, The Dynamic Duo and The Further Adventures of Jimmy and Wes. Many jazz purists complained that he abandoned hard-bop for pop jazz towards the end of his career, although it is arguable that he gained a wider audience for his earlier work through his commercial jazz recordings from 1965-1968. He continued to play outstanding live jazz guitar, as evidenced by surviving audio and video recordings from his 1965 tour of Europe.
|Dearly Beloved||Wes Montgomery||The Artistry of Wes Montgomery||1963|
|Moanin'||Wes Montgomery||Portrait of Wes||1963|
|Four On Six||Wes Montgomery||Smokin' at the Half Note||1965|
|No Blues||Wes Montgomery||Smokin' at The Half Note||1965|
|James and Wes||Jimmy Smith||The Further Adventures||1966|