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Wes Montgomery: In the Beginning: Early Recordings from 1949-1958 [Digipak]

Track List

>After You've Gone
>Fascinating Rhythm
>Brazil
>What Is There To Say?
>Four
>Wes' Tune
>My Heart Stood Still
>How High The Moon
>Django
>Going Down To Big Mary's
>I Should Care
>Caravan
>Six Bridges To Cross
>Ralph's New Blues
>Soft Winds
>Robbins' Nest
>A Night In Tunisia
>Love For Sale
>Leila
>Blues
>Undecided
>Far Wes
>All The Things You Are
>King Trotter
>Carlena's Blues
>Smooth Evening

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

Newly discovered live & studio recordings from 1949 - 1958... Available as 2CD and 3LP sets. Liner notes by Ashley Kahn, Quincy Jones, Pete Townshend, & more... and features rare and never-beforepublished photos. Includes a complete never-before-released 1955 Epic Records session produced by Quincy Jones.

Album Notes

Personnel: Wes Montgomery (guitar); Debbie Andrews, Sonny Parker (vocals); Gene Morris, Alonzo "Pookie" Johnson (tenor saxophone); Buddy Montgomery (piano, vibraphone); Douglas Duke, Richie Crabtree , Melvin Rhyne, Jack Coker (piano); Sonny Johnson, Earl Fox Walker, Paul Parker (drums).

Audio Mixers: George Klabin; Fran Gala.

Liner Note Authors: Pete Townshend; Quincy Jones; Zev Feldman; Bill Milkowski; Ashley Kahn; Buddy Montgomery.

Recording information: C&C Music Lounge, Chicago, IL (06/15/1955); Columbia Studios, New York, NY (06/15/1955); Indianapolis, IN (06/15/1955); Spire Records, Fresno, CA (06/15/1955); The Missile Lounge, Indianapolis, IN (06/15/1955); The Turf Club, Indianapolis, IN (06/15/1955); C&C Music Lounge, Chicago, IL (08/25/1956); Columbia Studios, New York, NY (08/25/1956); Indianapolis, IN (08/25/1956); Spire Records, Fresno, CA (08/25/1956); The Missile Lounge, Indianapolis, IN (08/25/1956); The Turf Club, Indianapolis, IN (08/25/1956); C&C Music Lounge, Chicago, IL (09/08/1956); Columbia Studios, New York, NY (09/08/1956); Indianapolis, IN (09/08/1956); Spire Records, Fresno, CA (09/08/1956); The Missile Lounge, Indianapolis, IN (09/08/1956); The Turf Club, Indianapolis, IN (09/08/1956); C&C Music Lounge, Chicago, IL (11/08/1956); Columbia Studios, New York, NY (11/08/1956); Indianapolis, IN (11/08/1956); Spire Records, Fresno, CA (11/08/1956); The Missile Lounge, Indianapolis, IN (11/08/1956); The Turf Club, Indianapolis, IN (11/08/1956); C&C Music Lounge, Chicago, IL (11/20/1956); Columbia Studios, New York, NY (11/20/1956); Indianapolis, IN (11/20/1956); Spire Records, Fresno, CA (11/20/1956); The Missile Lounge, Indianapolis, IN (11/20/1956); The Turf Club, Indianapolis, IN (11/20/1956); C&C Music Lounge, Chicago, IL (11/22/1958); Columbia Studios, New York, NY (11/22/1958); Indianapolis, IN (11/22/1958); Spire Records, Fresno, CA (11/22/1958); The Missile Lounge, Indianapolis, IN (11/22/1958); The Turf Club, Indianapolis, IN (11/22/1958); C&C Music Lounge, Chicago, IL (1949); Columbia Studios, New York, NY (1949); Indianapolis, IN (1949); Spire Records, Fresno, CA (1949); The Missile Lounge, Indianapolis, IN (1949); The Turf Club, Indianapolis, IN (1949); C&C Music Lounge, Chicago, IL (1957); Columbia Studios, New York, NY (1957); Indianapolis, IN (1957); Spire Records, Fresno, CA (1957); The Missile Lounge, Indianapolis, IN (1957); The Turf Club, Indianapolis, IN (1957).

Photographer: Philip Kahl.

Rare Wes Montgomery material is hard to come by. Not counting Willow Weep for Me, the posthumous LP Verve issued in 1968 not long after the guitarist's passing, there was Resonance's 2012 set Echoes of Indiana Avenue, which contained largely live performances from 1957 and 1958. In the Beginning, released three years after Echoes, draws from a similar well of unreleased recordings, offering a heavy dose of live material along with five sides produced by Quincy Jones at Columbia Studios in 1955, plus three tracks a session at Spire Records in Fresno, California in 1949. Sequenced in rough reverse chronological order -- two live performances from November 1958 open the second disc, but the first is entirely devoted to recordings made at the Turf Club in Indianapolis in 1956, when Wes was supported by his brother Buddy on piano, Monk Montgomery on bass, Alonzo "Pookie" Johnson on tenor sax, and drummer Sonny Johnson -- the end result has Montgomery turning into a slightly straighter player as the collection rolls on, but that by no means means he sounds stiff. The 1949 cuts that wrap this up veer closer to big band than to bop, and there's a slight touch of politeness to the Jones-produced cuts. That said, it's possible to hear traces of Montgomery's fluidity here, but it's the live cuts from 1956 and 1958 that truly command attention. Here, there's a palpable hunger and playfulness to the performances that give the hard bop a kinetic kick, which means this isn't merely a worthy release from a historic standpoint, it's flat-out fun to boot. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine



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