Down Beat (1960) - 4 Stars - Very Good - "..On the basis of Montgomery's work this would be a 5-star LP, but unfortunately the rest of the trio does not measure up to his standard, and the final effect is just short of that.."
While even label executive Orrin Keepnews admits that The Wes Montgomery Trio may have fallen short of representing Montgomery's talent, he still felt that this debut captured a large portion of it. Recorded on October 5 and 6 in 1959, guitarist Montgomery is joined by organist Melvin Rhyne and drummer Paul Parker. Montgomery's style, block chords and octaves, is already firmly in place, and he delivers lovely solos on "'Round Midnight," "Whisper Not," and "Satin Doll." The choice of material, in fact, from classics like "Yesterdays" to originals like Montgomery's "Jingles," never falters. The only drawback is that the accompaniment, which though solid, doesn't seem to perfectly match his guitar style. One gets the impression that Montgomery's forceful, deliberate style would be better-served by beefier arrangements. Having said this, Montgomery's performance -- coming at the end of a decade represented by guitarists like Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel -- must have been a revolution in technique and execution. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a 36-year-old guitarist re-imagines the jazz guitar solo. There are two bonus tracks on The Wes Montgomery Trio: extra takes of "Satin Doll" and "Missile Blues." Although later Riverside recordings of Montgomery are more fully realized, fans will enjoy returning to the moment when he first burst upon the jazz scene. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.