Saturday, June 24, 2017

Wes Montgomery - 1966 [1997] "California Dreaming"

California Dreaming is the sixteenth jazz album recorded by guitarist Wes Montgomery and released in 1966. It reached number one on the Billboard Jazz album chart and number 4 on the R&B chart. It was reissued on CD in 2007 with an alternate take of "Sunny".

Wes Montgomery's last album for Verve (other than an exciting collaboration with Jimmy Smith) is a so-so orchestral date featuring arrangements by Don Sebesky. The material (which includes "Sunny" and "California Dreaming") is strictly pop fluff of the era and the great guitarist has little opportunity to do much other than state the melody in his trademark octaves. This record was perfect for AM radio of the period.

My step-father brought this home on 8-track in 1968 and to this day when I listen to it, I can go back to that place in time. Wes is on it, the arrangements are sharp, tasteful and evoke a mood that I will always cherish, even the cover fit to a tee. Wes was a unique artist, the likes of which we won't soon see again. Something about the early sixties...just makes me want to make a highball, throw a t-bone on the grill, light up a Kool Filter King, kick back and enjoy life...this is a great period piece.

Classic Jazz re-visited and enjoyed that's what this vintage music means to me and others who love it as well. I now own a classic piece of history (How sweet is that?) This was a vintage recording hard to attain and easy to enjoy Jazz America's only true original Art form...this album is sophisticated AND musical and in my opinion puts Wes' tone and imagination on display at their best ! I have a lot of Wes in my collection; this is my favorite ! (... the sidemen / arrangements are only spectacular !)

Although this the 'pop' Wes Montgomery, I think it show his remarkable guitar playing. He was a unique and wonderful artist. I highly recommend it

Track listing:

01 - "California Dreaming" (John Phillips, Michelle Phillips) – 3:08
02 - "Sun Down" (Wes Montgomery) – 6:03
03 - "Oh, You Crazy Moon" (Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke) – 3:44
04 - "More, More, Amor" (Sol Lake) – 2:54
05 - "Without You" (Marino, Myers) – 3:05
06 - "Winds of Barcelona" (Lake) – 3:07
07 - "Sunny [alternate take]" (Bobby Hebb) – 3:07
08 - "Sunny" (Hebb) – 4:04
09 - "Green Peppers" (Lake) – 2:56
10 - "Mr. Walker" (Montgomery) – 3:39
11 - "South of the Border" (Jimmy Kennedy, Michael Carr) – 3:13


Wes Montgomery – guitar
Herbie Hancock – piano
Bucky Pizzarelli – guitar
Ray Barretto – percussion
Grady Tate – drums
Al Casamenti – guitar
Richard Davis – bass
Bernie Glow – trumpet
Mel Davis – trumpet
Jimmy Nottingham – trumpet
Wayne Andre – trombone
Johnny Messner – trombone
Bill Watrous – trombone
Stan Webb – clarinet, English Horn, saxophone
Raymond Beckenstein – flute, piccolo, saxophone
James Buffington – French Horn
Jack Jennings – castanets, scratching, vibraphone
Don Butterfield – tuba