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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Wes, 13 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Incredible Jazz Guitar (Audio CD)
If you asked a cross section of contemporary jazz guitarists to pick essential jazz guitar albums, this is one that they could all agree on. The Incredible Jazz Guitar is not only the album that announced to the jazz world that Wes Montgomery had arrived as a major force to be reckoned with, it is the record that caused many established players to re-evaluate their technique.

With many much-copied innovators, it can sometimes be hard to appreciate what made them so unique in the first place. This is not the case with Wes Montgomery. His choice to use the thumb rather than a plectrum to play notes was un-orthodox, and has never been matched let alone bettered. He was the first guitarist to play entire choruses in octaves, and his influential strategy of constructing a solo by starting with single notes, then progressing to octaves, and finally improvising with block chords is in full evidence here.

The choice of material is first rate. The album opens with a fast version of the Sonny Rollins composition Airegin, and includes a very beautiful version of Polkadots & Moonbeams played in octaves. In addition, Wes introduces some of his finest originals including the catchy Four On Six and the jazz waltz West Coast Blues. Listen out for the moment in his solo on Mr. Walker where he spontaneously comes up with a harmonic phrase later utilised in the Bond films.

With no let up in quality for 44 minutes, and consistently excellent support from Tommy Flanagan on piano, and two of the Heath brothers on bass and drums, how could you not purchase this pivotal album?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Wes, 13 Sept. 2012
If you asked a cross section of contemporary jazz guitarists to pick essential jazz guitar albums, this is one that they could all agree on. The Incredible Jazz Guitar is not only the album that announced to the jazz world that Wes Montgomery had arrived as a major force to be reckoned with, it is the record that caused many established players to re-evaluate their technique.

With many much-copied innovators, it can sometimes be hard to appreciate what made them so unique in the first place. This is not the case with Wes Montgomery. His choice to use the thumb rather than a plectrum to play notes was un-orthodox, and has never been matched let alone bettered. He was the first guitarist to play entire choruses in octaves, and his influential strategy of constructing a solo by starting with single notes, then progressing to octaves, and finally improvising with block chords is in full evidence here.

The choice of material is first rate. The album opens with a fast version of the Sonny Rollins composition Airegin, and includes a very beautiful version of Polkadots & Moonbeams played in octaves. In addition, Wes introduces some of his finest originals including the catchy Four On Six and the jazz waltz West Coast Blues. Listen out for the moment in his solo on Mr. Walker where he spontaneously comes up with a harmonic phrase later utilised in the Bond films.

With no let up in quality for 44 minutes, and consistently excellent support from Tommy Flanagan on piano, and two of the Heath brothers on bass and drums, how could you not purchase this pivotal album?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Wes, 22 May 2011
This review is from: Incredible Jazz Guitar (Audio CD)
If you asked a cross section of contemporary jazz guitarists to pick essential jazz guitar albums, this is one that they could all agree on. The Incredible Jazz Guitar is not only the album that announced to the jazz world that Wes Montgomery had arrived as a major force to be reckoned with, it is the record that caused many established players to re-evaluate their technique.

With many much-copied innovators, it can sometimes be hard to appreciate what made them so unique in the first place. This is not the case with Wes Montgomery. His choice to use the thumb rather than a plectrum to play notes was un-orthodox, and has never been matched let alone bettered. He was the first guitarist to play entire choruses in octaves, and his influential strategy of constructing a solo by starting with single notes, then progressing to octaves, and finally improvising with block chords is in full evidence here.

The choice of material is first rate. The album opens with a fast version of the Sonny Rollins composition Airegin, and includes a very beautiful version of Polkadots & Moonbeams played in octaves. In addition, Wes introduces some of his finest originals including the catchy Four On Six and the jazz waltz West Coast Blues. Listen out for the moment in his solo on Mr. Walker where he spontaneously comes up with a harmonic phrase later utilised in the Bond films.

With no let up in quality for 44 minutes, and consistently excellent support from Tommy Flanagan on piano, and two of the Heath brothers on bass and drums, how could you not purchase this pivotal album?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genius breaks through, 21 Mar. 2013
I bought 'The Incredible Guitar of Wes Montgomery' (1960) as an LP over fifty years ago and it quickly made its way into my top 3 jazz records as the tit;e is so well-deserved. It's stayed there throughout all the years. I may prefer the individualised performances of Joe Pass but Wes Montgomery stands supreme when playing as a member of a combo. Notice how tightly he fits in with other musicians - later shown on the recordings he made with his brothers. Note also that 50% of the pieces on this CD were composed by Wes Montgomery, a natural genius.
Wes was self-taught and demonstrates this by doing things he 'shouldn't, such as improvising in octaves and part-chords. I also prefer the softer tone produced by his use of the thumb instead of a plectrum, never quite achieved by others by simply adjusting the amp's output.
From the very start 'Airegin' displays Wes's inventive phrasing, including his dynamic use of octaves and chords. with Tommy Flannigan (piano) filling in nicely in the background and Percy Heath (bass) providing a strong driving force.
There's a poignant air about 'D-Natural Blues' and then it suddenly picks up tempo with Wes doing the driving with a surprising self-confidence.
'Polka dots and Moonbeams' is not quite so successful, at least to me, as it lacks the natural 'swing' of Wes's style. This is shown in later recordings, accompanied by massed strings - and sometimes on 'Bags meets Wes' with Milt Jackson.
The next track, 'Four on Six' plunges the quartet right back in a real driving piece with the trust of bass (Percy Heath)and the lyricism of the piano backed by chord punctuations from Wes
Then one of my favourites, 'West Coast Blues' demonstrates the timing of Wes as he sits on top of fine support, notably by Albert Heath on drums. I think I've heard the best but then he's suddenly improvising in chords,' just as a change' before drifting back into solid support for the piano.
'In your own sweet way' starts with a chord solo from Wes, along with stylishly wistful backing from Flanagan and then roles are briefly reversed before Wes returns with a gentle single note turn before a more chord-based ending.
'Mr. Walker' starts with sharp staccato chord shots as Wes calls together the quartet. Throughout that style pops up, often in the dramatic Chinese-block work by Albert Heath as the piano provides melody to this highly-rhythmical piece. There's also some good evidence of just how fast that bent thumb of Wes could deliver the goods!
"Gone with the Wind' is back to swing and you have Wes having a great time with chords, octaves, triplets and the full range of his technique.
Wes had made three records before 'The Incredible Guitar' but this was the record by which this genius broke through to the public at large.This master guitarist had such a short period in the limelight, a dozen years, but that was enough to establish his pre-eminence in the world of jazz guitar (revals to . This is his way of saying, 'Hello', to the world and what an introduction it is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is jazz for pleasure, 11 Mar. 2002
By 
Mike Powell (Tregaron, Ceredigion United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Wes Montgomery was self taught and started gigging in his teens but these early recordings were not made until 1960 when he was 34years old. By this time the four note parallel cording of Barney Kessel and the unison octaves of Django Reinhardt extended the early influence of Charlie Christian to establish the style we hear on this CD.
Backed by the Heath brothers on base and drums, the quartet moves along swinging comfortably. The contribution made by pianist Tommy Flanagan is crucial to balance of the group; providing a nice integrated backing when the guitar leads. There are also some excellent piano solos on which Wes returns the compliment and in duet with the leader, an understanding partnership is created to make some truly enjoyable jazz.
It is a definitive statement, containing the original version of "West Coast Riff" and other riffs like "Mister Walker". The base and guitar in unison on "Four on Six" is worth the cost of this CD alone. This is jazz for pleasure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great guitar quartet album that allows the leader to display his total command of his instrument., 29 Mar. 2015
This album recorded in 1960 with a quartet: Montgomery (gtr), Tommy Flanagan (p), Percy Heath (b) and Albert Heath (d) featured eight tracks (some CD releases have "bonus" tracks.)
Being a quartet album allows Wes to take the spotlight (whereas say on "Full House" (1962) he shares the limelight with Johnny Griffin). This album allows Montgomery to display his unique style, and total command, to the full, but not in an ostentatious way.Tommy Flanagan is excellent, supporting but never displacing the leader. A mixture of "originals" and standards this is an excellent guitar quartet album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good quality and good value, 24 Oct. 2014
By 
P. F. G. Powell "pfgpowell" (cornwall, uk) - See all my reviews
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Just what I wanted, good quality and good value. Thanks.
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