American jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, released in 1961. It has been reissued by Original Jazz Classics.
One of Wes Montgomery's finest recordings, a Riverside date that showcases the influential guitarist in a quintet with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Lex Humphries, and the congas of Ray Barretto.
All eight performances are memorable in their own way, with
"Cottontail," "I'm Just a Lucky So and So," and a brief unaccompanied
"While We're Young" being high points.
Wes Montgomery's So Much Guitar! continues the latest round of
re-releases/re-masters from the Concord Music Group, celebrating the
60th anniversary of Riverside Records. So Much Guitar! follows the re-releases of singer and trumpeter Chet Baker's Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe (OJC/Riverside, 1959/2013) and Mulligan Meets Monk (OJC/Riverside, 1957/2013) in the label's birthday celebration.
Montgomery enjoyed a productive stay at Riverside between 1958 and 1963, making many of his most memorable recordings. So Much Guitar! falls between the release of 1960's breakthrough recording The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery and 1961's Wes and Friends. In total, Montgomery would records a total of 18 long-playing albums for Riverside before moving to Verve in 1964.
The re-release of So Much Guitar! includes all of that original release plus all of the Montgomery Brother's 1961 Fantasy recording The Montgomery Brothers In Canada. The original tapes of the So Much Guitar!
session were accidently erased, leaving no alternate takes to consider
for inclusion. The decision to add the live material turns out to be a
big plus, offering the listener the comparison of Montgomery with two
vastly different rhythm sections.
So Much Guitar! pits Montgomery against a young, but accomplished Ron Carter on bass with pianist Hank Jones and percussionists Lex Humphries and Ray Barretto.
The set features a well-behaved and swinging collections of standards
and originals where Montgomery shows off his octave playing. Jones is
perfectly tasteful while Carter reveals his perfect time that would
guide Miles Davis's second great quintet
just five years later. The inclusion of Barretto on congas adds a layer
of rhythmic sophistication that fills out the musical background
properly. The band is most effective on Montgomery's "Twisted Blues" and
the minor- key blues "Something Like Bags."
The live material was recorded at The Cellar in Vancouver in the Spring of 1961. Montgomery is joined by brothers bassist Monk Montgomery and vibraphonist Buddy Montgomery. Paul Humphrey
plays the drums. This is a quartet with the piano replaced by the
vibes. The effect is an overall softening of the band's swing. Claude Thornhill's
iconic "Snowfall" is given a post-modern treatment that remains true to
the such textures of the original while exposing the piece's ribs. It
is a showcase for Buddy Montgomery. The vibes-guitar axis proved to be
an improvisatory playground for the brothers, who were tethered to the
beat by another brother. On "Angel Eyes" the approach was most
effective, as well as on "On Green Dolphin Street." The re-issued So Much Guitar! is a great set all around.
"Twisted Blues" (Wes Montgomery) – 5:31
"Cotton Tail" (Duke Ellington) – 3:38
"I Wish I Knew" (Mack Gordon, Harry Warren) – 5:26
"I'm Just a Lucky So-and-So" (Ellington, Mack David) – 5:57
"Repetition" (Neal Hefti) – 3:48
"Somethin' Like Bags" (Montgomery) – 4:44
"While We're Young" (Morty Palitz, Alec Wilder) – 2:12
"One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" (Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) – 7:38
Wes Montgomery – guitar
Ron Carter – bass
Lex Humphries – drums
Ray Barretto – conga
Hank Jones – piano