Wes Montgomery

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Wes Montgomery

Mesaj  Admin Bir C.tesi Mayıs 03, 2008 3:31 pm

Wes Montgomery


Wes Montgomery, 1965
Background information
Birth name John Leslie Montgomery
Born March 6, 1925(1925-03-06)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Died June 15, 1968 (aged 43)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Genre(s) Soul jazz
Contemporary jazz
Crossover jazz
Mainstream jazz
Jazz pop
Hard bop
Occupation(s) Composer, Guitarist
Instrument(s) Guitar
Label(s) Riverside, Verve, CTI
John Leslie "Wes" Montgomery (6 March 1925 - 15 June 1968) was an American jazz guitarist. He is generally considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others, including Grant Green and Pat Metheny.





Biography
Montgomery was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. He came from a musical family, in which his brothers, Monk (string bass and electric bass) and Buddy (vibraphone, and piano), were jazz performers. Although he was not skilled at reading music, he could learn complex melodies and riffs by ear. Montgomery started learning guitar at the age of 19, listening to and learning recordings of his idol, the guitarist Charlie Christian. He was known for his ability to play Christian solos note for note and was hired by Lionel Hampton for this ability.

Montgomery is often considered the greatest of modern jazz guitarists. Following the early work of swing/pre-bop guitarist Charlie Christian and gypsy-jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, Wes arguably put guitar on the map as a bebop or post-bop instrument. Although Johnny Smith was the guitarist in the original New York Bebop scene, and both Tal Farlow and Jimmy Raney made significant contributions in the 1950's to bebop guitar, each of these men curtailed their own output in the 1960s, creating a vacuum that Montgomery naturally filled with virtuousic playing. While many Jazz players are regarded as virtuosos, Montgomery was unique in his wide influence on other virtuosos who followed him, and in the respect he earned from his contemporaries. To many, Montgomery's playing defines jazz guitar and the sound that many try to emulate.

Montgomery toured with Lionel Hampton early in his career, however the combined stress of touring and being away from family brought him back home to Indianapolis. To support his family of eight, Montgomery worked in a factory from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, then performed in local clubs from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am. Cannonball Adderley heard Montgomery in an Indianapolis club and was floored. He helped sign Montgomery to a recording contract and recorded with him on his Pollwinners album. Montgomery recorded with his brothers and various other group members, including the Wynton Kelly Trio which previously backed up Miles Davis.

John Coltrane asked Montgomery to join his band after a Jam session, but Montgomery continued to lead his own band. Boss Guitar seems to refer to his status as a guitar-playing bandleader. He also made contributions to recordings by Jimmy Smith. Jazz purists relish Montgomery's recordings up through 1965, and sometimes complain 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 with his soft jazz from 1965-1968. During this late period he would occasionally turn out original material alongside jazzy orchestral arrangements of pop songs. In sum, this late period earned him considerable wealth and created a platform for a new audience to hear his earlier recordings.


Technique
Montgomery often approached solos in a three-tiered manner: He would begin a repeating progression with single note lines, derived from scales or modes; after a fitting number of sequences, he would play octaves for a few more sequences, finally culminating with arpeggiated chords.

The use of octaves (playing the same note on two strings one octave apart) for which he is widely known, became known as "the Naptown Sound". Montgomery was also an excellent "single-line" or "single-note" player, and was very influential in the use of block chords in his solos. His playing on the jazz standard Lover Man is an example of his single-note, octave- and block-chord soloing. ("Lover Man" appears on the Fantasy album The Montgomery Brothers.)

Instead of using a guitar pick, Montgomery plucked the strings with the fleshy part of his thumb, using downstrokes for single notes and a combination of upstrokes and downstrokes for chords and octaves. This technique enabled him to get a mellow, expressive tone from his guitar. George Benson, in the liner notes of the Ultimate Wes Montgomery album, wrote, "Wes had a corn on his thumb, which gave his sound that point. He would get one sound for the soft parts, and then that point by using the corn. That's why no one will ever match Wes. And his thumb was double-jointed. He could bend it all the way back to touch his wrist, which he would do to shock people."

He generally played a Gibson L-5CES guitar. In his later years he played one of two guitars that Gibson custom made for him. In his early years, Montgomery had a tube amp, often a Fender. In his later years, he played a solid state Standel amp with a 15 inch speaker.


Recording career
Montgomery 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 (save for one session in 1955), when he took part in a session that included his brothers Monk and Buddy, as well as trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, who made his recording debut with Montgomery. Most of the recordings made by Montgomery and his brothers from 1957-1959 were released on the Pacific Jazz label.

From 1959 Montgomery was signed to the Riverside Records label, and remained there until late 1963, just before the company went bankrupt. The recordings made during this period are widely considered by fans and jazz historians to be Montgomery's best and most influential. Two sessions in January 1960 yielded The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, which was recorded as a quartet with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath. The album featured one of Montgomery's most well-known compositions, "Four on Six."

Almost all of Montgomery's output on Riverside featured the guitarist in a small group setting, usually a quartet or quintet, playing a mixture of hard-swinging uptempo jazz numbers and quiet ballads. 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')---and during this period Montgomery's music started to shift in to the territory of pop music.

But he never abandoned jazz entirely in the Verve years, whether with a few selections on most of the Verve albums, or by such sets as 1965's Smokin' at the Half Note (showcasing two memorable appearances at the famous New York City club with the Wynton Kelly Trio) or a pair of albums he made with jazz organ titan Jimmy Smith, The Dynamic Duo and The Further Adventures of Jimmy and Wes). He continued to play outstanding live jazz guitar, as evidenced by surviving audio and video recordings from his 1965 tour of Europe.

As a considered founder of the Smooth Jazz school the album "Bumpin'" (1965) represents a model from which many modern recording are derived: as the liner notes to the CD remaster issue note, after being unable to produce the desired results by the guitarist and orchestra playing together, arranger Don Sebesky suggested Montgomery record the chosen music with his chosen small group, after which Sebesky would write the orchestral charts based on what Montgomery's group had produced. Longer clips from all of the tracks on "Bumpin'" and other Wes Montgomery albums are found on Verve Records website.

By the time Montgomery released his first album for A&M Records, he had seemingly abandoned jazz entirely for the more lucrative pop market. The three albums released during his A&M period (1967-68) feature orchestral renditions of famous pop songs ("Scarborough Fair," "I Say a Little Prayer for You," "Eleanor Rigby," etc.) with Montgomery reciting the melody with his guitar. These records were the most commercially successful of his career.[citation needed]

He didn't have very long to live to enjoy his commercial success, however; in 1968, he woke one morning, remarked to his wife that he "Didn't feel very well," and minutes later collapsed, dying of a heart attack within minutes. Montgomery's home town of Indianapolis has named a park in his honor. He is the grandfather of actor Anthony Montgomery.

Wes and Buddy, along with Richard Crabtree and Benny Barth, formed "The Mastersounds", and recorded "Jazz Showcase Introducing The Mastersounds" and a jazz version of "The King and I", both released by World Pacific Records. They first played together at Seattle, particularly working up the set for "The King and I", at a club called Dave's Fifth Avenue. The composers were so impressed by the jazz version of "The King & I" that they pre-released the score of "Flower Drum Song" to the quartet to allow simultaneous release with the sound track album.
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Wes Montgomery 1965 I/II

Mesaj  Admin Bir C.tesi Mayıs 03, 2008 3:32 pm

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Wes Montgomery 1965 II/II

Mesaj  Admin Bir C.tesi Mayıs 03, 2008 3:35 pm


Enough cannot be said about Wes Montgomery (1925-1968), the most important jazz guitarist to emerge since Charlie Christian. He has influenced hordes of guitarists, George Benson notwithstanding. Let's enjoy the Wes Montgomery Quartet appearing in London in 1965 for BBC's legendary TV show Jazz 625. Wes is accompanied by Harold Mabern on piano, Arthur Harper on bass and Jimmy Lovelace on drums. Host is trumpet player Humphrey Lyttelton, a gentleman who has graced British TV for decades.

Program:
Twisted Blues
Full House
West Coast Blues
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