Buddy Montgomery

A Love Affair in Paris

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Buddy Montgomery was 70 when he recorded A Love Affair in Paris for Space Time Records (a French label) in 2000. At that point, the veteran pianist/vibist was the only living Montgomery brother -- guitarist Wes Montgomery had died in 1967 and bassist Monk Montgomery had died in 1982. Regrettably, Buddy Montgomery's catalog wasn't nearly as large as it should have been, and the arrival of this French release in the early 2000s was good news for those who felt that he should have been doing a lot more recording. Buddy Montgomery plays mostly vibes on A Love Affair in Paris; only two of the ten selections ("An Affair to Remember" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Once I Loved") find him playing acoustic piano. So on 80 percent of this bop-oriented CD, the lineup consists of Montgomery on vibes, Donald Brown on piano, Robert Hurst on bass, Lenny White on drums, and Anga Diaz on percussion. Showing a strong Milt Jackson influence but always his own person, Montgomery is in good form on some overdone standards (including "I Hear a Rhapsody" and "Speak Low") as well as original pieces like "Waterfall," "Ruffin' It," and "Irregardless." White proves to be an asset throughout the album, which is primarily a studio effort but contains three live tracks. Although White has strong fusion and funk credentials -- he was a member of Chick Corea's Return to Forever in the '70s and had a funk band called Twennynine -- he has no problem backing Montgomery in a hard bop setting. In fact, White's playing on this French release explodes the silly myth that embracing fusion, rock, or funk automatically renders a musician incapable of playing straight-ahead jazz. Although not quite essential, A Love Affair in Paris is a solid album that Montgomery's admirers will enjoy.

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