Jazz CD Reviews

The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery – Riverside

Its clarity surpasses what we’ve heard on CDs before and is probably surpassed on vinyl only by the 45 rpm reissues.

Published on June 24, 2008

The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery – Riverside
The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery – Riverside / Keepnews Collection RCD-30790 ***** [Concord Records]:

(with Tommy Flanagan, Percy Heath & Albert Heath)

Guitarist Montgomery exploded on the jazz scene in l960 as the most skilled guitarist since Charlie Christian, and this was one of the two albums he recorded that impressive year – in NYC with famed jazz producer Orrin Keepnews at the helm. Montgomery was noted for his octave passages and unusual use of his thumb. Plus speeds that would leave listeners breathless. Pianist Tommy Flanagan is a perfect cohort for Montgomery. This is only a 44 minute disc but every minute of it is terrific modern guitar jazz, with a clarity that surpasses what we’ve heard on CDs before and is probably surpassed on vinyl only by the 45 rpm reissues.

As I mentioned in my review of the Nat Adderley Work Song, I had previously reviewed the Fantasy stereo SACD version of this same session, and in careful comparison I could discern no serious differences between the two when the CD output was fed thru a good DAC such as the Benchmark. Since the price is roughly half of the premium SACD series, your path here is clear.

TrackList: Airegin, D-Natural Blues, Polka Dots and Moonbeams, Four On Six, West Coast Blues, In Your Own Sweet Way, Mr. Walker, Gone with the Wind

– John Henry




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