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  • Impressions: Verve Jazz Sides
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Impressions: Verve Jazz Sides

12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 18, 1995
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$37.09 $4.39

Editorial Reviews

Guitarist Wes Montgomery grew up in a musical family with brothers Monk (bass) and Buddy (piano/vibes). All three musicians were self-taught, and recorded together as the Montgomery Brothers, but Wes would go on to the greatest success. The guitarist had crossed over to pop by the time of his death, after a heart attack, at age 43. The Verve material collects later Montgomery sides, one disc of OK studio recordings with sidemen including Jerome Richardson, Phil Woods, and Danny Bank on various wind instruments, and Donald Byrd, Ernie Royal, Snooky Young, and Joe Newman on trumpets. The second CD is the keeper, the complete Smokin' at the Half Note sessions with the Wynton Kelly trio. --John Swenson

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. West Coast BluesWes Montgomery 3:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. CaravanWes Montgomery 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Twisted BluesWes Montgomery 4:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Golden EarringsWes Montgomery 5:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Naptown BluesWes Montgomery 3:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Sun DownWes Montgomery 6:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. MilestonesJimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery 4:11$1.29  Buy MP3 
  8. 'Round MidnightJimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery 7:22Album Only
  9. Mellow Mood (Album Version)Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery 8:44Album Only
10. James And WesJimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery 8:14Album Only
11. OGD (Road Song)Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery 6:08$1.29  Buy MP3 
12. Wives And LoversWes Montgomery 3:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Portrait Of JennyWes Montgomery 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. The Surrey With The Fringe On TopWes Montgomery 5:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. The Surrey With The Fringe On TopWes Montgomery and Wynton Kelly Trio 6:14$0.99  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Unit 7Wes Montgomery and Wynton Kelly Trio 6:47$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. Four On SixWes Montgomery and Wynton Kelly Trio 6:46$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. What's New?Wes Montgomery and Wynton Kelly Trio 6:13$1.29  Buy MP3 
  4. No BluesWes Montgomery and Wynton Kelly Trio12:55Album Only
  5. If You Could See Me NowWes Montgomery and Wynton Kelly Trio 8:24Album Only
  6. Willow Weep For MeWes Montgomery 7:38Album Only
  7. ImpressionsWes Montgomery 5:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Oh, You Crazy MoonWes Montgomery 5:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Four On SixWes Montgomery 9:33Album Only
10. MistyWes Montgomery 6:41$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 18, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Polygram Records
  • ASIN: B0000046TP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,435 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Tom Hynes on March 31, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Despite Wes's extraordinary abilities, his recordings are somewhat inconsistent; in particular, his later albums were more pop than jazz, and largely obscured his genius. Wes recorded both jazz and pop records for Verve, and on this collection they wisely acknowledge the difference, assembling his best jazz work for them on on extremely well thought-out and organized collection, the best one I know of; this is the one I make all my students get. If you like this and want more, work backwards to his Riverside titles, such as Introducing Wes Montgomery, The Incredible Jazz Guitar of... (anything with organ on it smokes) and avoid the recordings with pop tunes and slick orchestras (later Verve, anything on A&M).
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Josh Dougherty on December 29, 2002
Format: Audio CD
First, I must say that this 2cd set is the absolute best introduction for anyone interested in traditional jazz guitar itself or Wes Montgomery, one of its greatest practitioners.
This 2cd set contains all of the album "Smokin' at the Half Note" (on disc #2) which is, in my opinion, the best live Wes Montgomery album. It also contains bonus tracks from that session, which are NOT available on the single cd, or anywhere else to my knowledge.
In addition, the first disc contains a varied sampling of Wes Montgomery's studio recordings on the Verve label. Some people contend that many of Wes' studio recordings went somewhat commercial during his Verve period and are therfore not quite as good as his earlier recordings.
I agree.
But, his studio recordings, even in this period, are not bad at all, and in fact, the ones offered in this set are quite good. The first disc offers a sampling of small group recordings and big band recordings, all of which are very good and offer some of the best from this period.
I belive Wes' earlier Riverside recordings are his best "straight ahead" jazz recordings overall, but the selections on the first disc of this set are really the best of his later studio recordings. They're definitely worth a listen, and I really feel it offers the very best selection of Wes' Verve studio recordings.
But, again, the jewel of this set is disc #2. On this disc you get ALL of Wes' best live album "Smokin' at the Half Note", AND you get quite a few great bonus cuts from this live session. Particularly great is the short but smokin' version of John Coltrane's "Impressions", not available on other releases.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By BluesDuke on July 15, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Wes Montgomery had one very good reason for letting Verve move him toward a more orchestral pop delivery of jazz beginning in 1964: he had a sizeable family to feed and, like it or not, pure jazz just didn't pay the bills any longer. That didn't prevent him from producing some incandescent music regardless, if only because his playing style was so complete, so personal, and so incapable of shunting emotion to the side, that he transcended the sometimes syrupy arrangements through which he had to navigate. In the end, he really didn't compromise too much of his soul, and if you consider just how sappy most of what came to be called MOR (middle of the road) in the mid-1960s had already been, Montgomery's odd union of MOR and jazz was really a refreshment.
Still, Verve didn't imprison him entirely - Montgomery got plentiful chances to blow, and blow he could and did. And here's the prime samplings of those blowings in the Verve/A & M years in one very powerful introduction. (You'll be tempted, once you've been hit between the eyes by the bristling lyricism with which he attacks "Caravan," to seek out the album from whence it came, the broodingly joyous "Movin' Wes".) The real treat: the complete recordings from the dates with the Wynton Kelly Trio that produced the remarkable "Smokin' At The Half Note". Montgomery and the Kelly unit play as though they were made for each other, the rhythm section almost galloping their way through the sets as Montgomery and Kelly play like a pair of long-lost soul brothers. If you're new to Wes Montgomery, here is a terrific place to begin. And once you do, don't be afraid to spend the money you're likely to spend on getting your hands on every one of his regulation albums. When Ralph J.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mike VINE VOICE on January 2, 2011
Format: MP3 Music
...listen to Wes Montgomery."

Frank Zappa fans will recognize that famous quote, and he was right. I'd add Joe Pass, Les Paul, Chet Atkins and Kenny Burrell to the list, but if you want to learn how to play the guitar...or simply listen to it for enjoyment...this is an absolutely essential purchase.

Wes popularized the "octaves" playing style..."the harmonic combination of two tones an octave apart," if you'd like the short and sweet Merriam-Webster definition. It gave his playing a distinctive ring, a depth, that has been so widely imitated that if you've never heard his playing before, you might be shocked to realize how many players, both skilled and unskilled, took his pioneering approach and ran with it. In every genre of music, all roads eventually lead back to a handful of supremely gifted Wes.

There were "traditional" periods in Montgomery's career, and there were "commercial" periods. The commercial stuff obviously sold well...that's why it could be called "commercial"...but jazz purists weren't that pleased. The flip side of that is that most consumers of music who are not jazz purists really don't care what jazz purists think...they just listen to music they like and don't fret over the labels. Look at the heat Miles Davis took for being a musical chameleon from 1955-1975, his peak Columbia years, which began with Round About Midnight and ended with Get Up With It...can you imagine what his music would have sounded like if he'd simply stood still for two decades? And don't even get me started with John Coltrane...
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