Recording Date: January 26th and 28th, 1960
Re-release date (Keepnews Collection): June 3rd 2008
Availabilty: CD, MP3 download, iTunes
Rated by many as even better than the two 'live' classics "Full House" and "Smokin' At The Half Note", Wes Montgomery's second studio album for Orrin Keepnews' Riverside label is a tour de force that fully lives up to its title - "incredible jazz guitar" is just what it is. Backed by Tommy Flanagan (piano) and brothers Percy Heath (bass) and Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums), this is a programme to highlight Wes Montgomery's masterful playing across a wide range.
Sonny Rollins' "Airegin" is taken at a blistering pace and shows off Wes Montgomery's trademark improvisation in single notes, in octaves and in chords. The similarly upbeat "Four On Six" is almost as remarkable.
"Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" showcase Wes Montgomery's no less effective technique in summoning up an "after hours" feel.
"West Coast Blues", "Gone With The Wind" and "Mr Walker" aim at a more low down funky approach, with "West Coast Blues" the stand out track where Wes Montgomery's playing hits the heights that were to become almost a commonplace in his later career.
No wonder the album made his name and secured his place as a key innovator of jazz guitar.
The Keepnews Collection remaster, going back to the original session tapes, improves sound quality and brings out the vibrance of the playing. Having produced the original session almost 50 years ago now, Orrin Keepnews' extensive new liner notes (as with the whole Keepnews Collection remasters series) adds a valuable additional context to this fine music.
Listen to free streaming audio of sample track "D-Natural Blues" here
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Bret Primack's video for Concord Records interviewing Orrin Keepnews on Wes Montgomery "Incredible Jazz Guitar"
Read our review of "Full House"
Read our review of "Smokin' At The Half Note"
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