In selecting my next jazz boner anthem to listen to here at the office today, I found this terrific online article (click HERE) ‘The 25 Essential Jazz Records Every Man Should Know‘. Thankfully, I already either own or have heard of most of these albums and now I can start filling in some of those gaps and this ‘The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery‘ album is definitely one of those gaps.
Here’s what the article had to say about the album:
Trademark thumb-picking and octaves-employed, this record established Montgomery as “the most formidable modern guitarist of the era.
For those of you not in the know already, Wes Montgomery is widely considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others, including George Benson, Jimi Hendrix, Pat Metheny, Kenny Burrell, Russel Malone and Mark Whitfield among others.
This album is considered by many fans and critics to be the pinnacle of Montgomery’s recorded studio work. ‘The Penguin Guide to Jazz’ selected this album as part of its suggested “Core Collection”, calling it “probably the best Montgomery record currently available”.
Almost entirely self-taught (initially by immersing himself in Charlie Christian’s recordings with clarinetist Benny Goodman’s chamber groups), and unable to read a note of music, by 1959 – when he was brought to Keepnews’ attention by saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, who’d been gigging in Indianapolis – Montgomery had developed a revolutionary new approach to the instrument. His style featured three signature elements: he played with his thumb, never a pick, and he improvised entire choruses using either octaves or pianistic block chords. None of these techniques were unique, but until Montgomery came along no other guitarist had mastered them so completely (let alone combined them) or made them so integral to sound and improvisation.
I’ll be truthful, I know all about Wes and even have some live bootlegs laying around somewhere but I’ve never actually listened to a complete album. So, caring about my ultimate “Man Status” when it comes to my jazz boner, I’m righting that wrong in the office here today.