Sunday, May 17, 2015

CD Review: Discover The Earlist Recordings Of Wes Montgomery In New Two Disc Set

American jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery was one of the most influential guitarist of all-time with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, George Benson and Django Reinhardt naming him as an iconic figure. His recording legacy would only last ten years as Montgomery died of a heart attack at only 45 years old. Since his death, there has been a number of compilations, but for the first time we get hear some of his earliest recordings in the recently release two-disc set "Early Recordings from 1949 - 1948."

Resonance Records compiled twenty-six songs of Wes Montgomery still finding his style in his home state of southern Indiana. The first disc begins with the quick finger picking of "After You've Gone" and "Brazil" as these recordings are a fresh new view into the development of this jazz guitar giant. Songs like "Wes' Tune" and "How High The Moon" showcase Montgomery as a sideman ready to take the spotlight at any given moment. The live, almost instanteous feel of these recordings, puts you back in time as a "fly on the wall" as magic is happening right in front of your ears with "I Should Care" and "Ralph's New Blues."

The second disc begins with a couple of pinnacle recordings of Montgomery just letting go on the twelve minute, back to back epics of "Soft Winds" and "Robbins, Nest." You can hear him take control of the tempo of "A Night In Tulsa," before turning the classic "Love For Sale" in a memorable rendition. The live take of "All The Things You Are" shows Montgomery on the brink of success, before closing the album with his undeniable sideman work on "Carlena's Blues" and "Smooth Evening."

The new release "In The Beginning 1949 - 1958" was released on May 12th as a two-CD set with a 55-page booklet featuring new write-ups by Quincy Jones, Pete Townshend, and jazz historian Ashley Kahn along with many unpublished photos of Wes Montgomery. It is also available as a three-LP vinyl set with a hand numbered slipcase and 8-page booklet along with a digital download of the entire album. To find out more, please visit resonancerecords.org.

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