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Wes Montgomery: Day I the Life [Limited Edition]

Album Notes

Personnel includes: Wes Montgomery (guitar); Don Sebesky (arranger, conductor); Herbie Hancock (piano); Ron Carter (bass); Grady Tate (drums); Ray Baretto (percussion).

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jeresey on June 6-8 & 26, 1967.

As is usual on Wes Montgomery's later recordings, underneath all the orchestrated strings, horns, and windwinds, there's a killer rhythm section hard at work, and A DAY IN THE LIFE is no exception, with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Grady Tate holding everything together. It's hard not to measure everything Montgomery did after 1963 against the four years of cooking, small-group albums he made for Riverside starting in 1959; the later, more arranged material is certainly less pure in terms of jazz content.

But the Verve and A&M albums were conscious attempts to market the guitarist to a wider audience, and as successful pop records, they gave Montgomery some degree of financial security after years of struggling to support a family of six on a jazzman's income. What's remarkable in retrospect is the amount of blowing that does occur here. On "Eleanor Rigby," of all places, the band lays down a groove for Wes to riff over before the strings come cascading back in, and good things happen also on the two standards, "Watch What Happens," and "Willow Weep For Me."


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