Personnel includes: Wes Montgomery (guitar); Don Sebesky (arranger, conductor); Jack Jennings (vibraphone, percussion); Herbie Hancock (piano); Al Casamenti, Buck Pizzarelli (guitar); Richard Davis (bass); Grady Tate (drums); Ray Baretto (percussion).
Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jeresy on Sepetmber 14-16, 1966.
As Wes Montgomery sailed into ever-poppier waters towards the end of his career, two things remained constant: he kept writing and including original tunes on his albums, and he kept playing and including the blues in one shade or another. Thus, on CALIFORNIA DREAMING, another big band-orchestrated Verve album, we get "Sun Down," a six-minute original blues, cut for the most part with just the first-call rhythm section of Herbie Hancock, Richard Davis, Grady Tate and Ray Baretto. The other original, "Mr. Walker," is just as cooking, and dates from Montgomery's second Riverside album, the aptly titled INCREDIBLE JAZZ GUITAR OF WES MONTGOMERY.
CALIFORNIA DREAMING, unlike BUMPIN', emphasizes groove tunes over ballads, and keeps the pop challenges to a minimum. It's not the relentless cooking of SMOKIN' AT THE HALF NOTE, or the aforementioned INCREDIBLE JAZZ GUITAR, but it's solid Montgomery nonetheless.