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Today in Music – Wes Montgomery’s Birthday – really!

Wes MontgomerySo unlike the other day today IS the birthday of one of my favorite jazz musicians the incredible Wes Montgomery! I started listening to the guitar of Wes way back in the late 60s’ Unfortunately he passed away in 1968 and the age of 45. From Wikipedia:

John Leslie “Wes” Montgomery (March 6, 1923 – June 15, 1968)[1] was an American jazz guitarist. He is widely considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others, including Grant Green, Pat Martino, George Benson, Russell Malone, Emily Remler, Kenny Burrell, Pat Metheny, Steve Howe, and Jimi Hendrix.

Many fellow jazz guitarists consider Montgomery the greatest influence among modern jazz guitarists. Pat Metheny has praised him greatly, saying “I learned to play listening to Wes Montgomery’s Smokin’ at the Half Note.” In addition, Metheny stated to The New York Times in 2005 that the solo on “If You Could See Me Now,” from this album is his favorite of all time. Joe Pass said, “To me, there have been only three real innovators on the guitar—Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, and Django Reinhardt,” as cited in James Sallis’s The Guitar Players and in his Hot Licks instructional video. Kenny Burrell states, “It was an honor that he called me as his second guitarist for a session.” In addition, George Benson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix, David Becker, Joe Diorio, Steve Lukather, Larry Coryell, and Pat Martino have pointed to him numerous times as a great influence. Lee Ritenour, who recorded the 1992 album Wes Bound named after him, cites him as his most notable influence; he also named his son Wesley. Full Biography

I started out I think with the three albums he did with A&M, A Day in the Life, Down Here on The Ground and Road Songs, which were albums containing covers of a lot of classic and current songs. I quickly moved on to the albums from Riverside and Verve, with two of mu favorites being Jimmy & Wes: The Dynamic Duo with Jimmy Smith and Willow We For Me.Since that time I have added many of Wes’ albums including some of the early albums he recorded with his brothers Buddy and Monk as The Montgomery Brothers. I recently saw the album Echoes of Indiana Avenue. I didn’t know that it is a collection of early never before recently tracks from his early years in Indianapolis! So I honor of his birthday I will have to listen to that album today. You can check out information about the album at The Official Site of Wes Montgomery

Here’s some great morning music from Wes “Twisted Blues”