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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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WES MONTGOMERY

Boss Guitar

Original Jazz Classics Remasters 0888072323308

 

 


1. Besame Mucho
2. Dearly Beloved
3. Days of Wine and Roses
4. The Trick Bag
5. Canadian Sunset
6. Fried Pies
7. The Breeze and I
8. For Heaven's Sake
Bonus Tracks
9. Besame Mucho (take 2)
10. The Trick Bag (take 6)
11. Fried Pies (take 1)

Wes Montgomery - Guitar
Mel Rhyne - Hammond B-3 Organ
Jimmy Cobb - Drums

 

Wes Montgomery`s influence on young guitarists is still profound, bearing in mind he died over forty years ago at the age of 43. Taking into account that he was largely self-taught, and that he used his thumb instead of a pick to achieve his pioneering approach to chordal harmonies, he left a legacy of recordings of this unique style of which Boss Guitar is a singular example.

During his early period with Riverside Records, Montgomery fronted this spontaneous trio session with Hammond organist Mel Rhyne and drummer Jimmy Cobb. The album contains two Montgomery originals, The Trick Bag and Fried Pies, both of which have a liberated feel, a rock solid beat, and some terrific organ work by Rhyne. The rest of the album is built around mostly recognizable tunes leading off with Besame Mucho, which does not stray from its Latin roots and features Montgomery's infectious guitar runs. Dearly Beloved and Days of Wine and Roses offer a contrast in styles: the former driven at a fast tempo with some appealing drum work by Cobb, and the latter in an easy-going mood with Montgomery's resourcefulness in full form.

Eddie Heywood's Canadian Sunset is a composition with an appealing structure that seems to work especially well in a trio setting with an organ component. With Cobb and Rhyne setting the table, Montgomery's guitar is front and centre with the tune full of life. Based on the Spanish composition Andalucía, The Breeze and I enjoyed intermittent Billboard popularity, first in 1940 when it was recorded by Jimmy Dorsey with Bob Eberly on vocal, and then in 1955 when Caterina Valente recorded the song. The Montgomery version is all Wes as he explores the tune's complex layers and Cobb provides the attractive supporting rhythm. Closing the original set is For Heaven's Sake a somewhat obscure offering which nevertheless gives the group a chance to chill out with a laid-back interpretation.

Original Jazz Classics is presenting this newly remastered version of the 1963 Riverside recording with the latest technology, including three bonus tracks which do not diverge much from the issued releases, and the original liner notes. Readers should consider this disc worth looking for online or at your favourite record store.

Pierre Giroux

 

See an additional review by Jonathan Woolf

 



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