60 minutes of Wes's best on one mid-priced CD! He attacks jazz and pop standards with equal verve, playing dazzling guitar versions of Milestones; The Shadow of Your Smile; Goin' Out of My Head; Tequila; Road Song; Impressions; Sunny; A Day in the Life; Up and at It; Once I Loved , and six more.
In the mid-1960s, Wes Montgomery went from being simply the most acclaimed jazz guitarist of the era to becoming an immense crossover success, setting the trend for later musicians like Grover Washington Jr.
and George Benson
. Often placed in pop-oriented big band and string settings, Montgomery covered earlier hits of the day--like "Tequila" and the Beatles
' "A Day in the Life"--adding his trademark octaves and funky inflections. Given the opportunity, though, he was still an inspired improviser, a side that's best represented here by the big-band version of "Milestones" with organist Jimmy Smith
, and the live recording of John Coltrane
's "Impressions," with Montgomery blazing atop the rhythm section of Wynton Kelly
, Paul Chambers
, and Jimmy Cobb. This is a good introduction to the different facets of Montgomery's later recordings, with the emphasis on the pop side of the equation. Those seeking more of his forthright jazz playing of the time should go directly to Impressions: the Verve Jazz Sides
. --Stuart Broomer