Wes Montgomery

September 19, 2005

John Leslie “Wes” Montgomery was a dedicated follower of Charlie Christian, and became a specialist at duplicating his solos in the mid 1940s. After recording under the radar with brothers Monk (electric bass) and Buddy (piano/vibes) for Pacific Jazz during the first phase of his solo career in 1957-58, Montgomery burst forth on the Riverside label from 1959-1963. Executed on an L-5 with his bare thumb to create a fat, warm tone, he debuted an amazingly fluid style of

single-note lines, octaves, and block chords that seemed to build in infinite intensity. Montgomery would gradually pare his chops during his Verve years (1964-66) until they became reductive octave melodies over syrupy strings for A&M in 1967-68.

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