Both historically important and highly entertaining, Fingerpickin' serves up ten recordings from before Wes Montgomery officially burst onto the scene as a leader with his Prestige albums. The core ensemble will be familiar to anyone who's heard the Montgomery Brothers' Groove Yard album; Buddy and Monk Montgomery are the leaders here, on vibes and bass, respectively, with Buddy contributing four originals. The material was cut on the West Coast in 1957, while Wes was still holding down his day job in Indianapolis and gigging six nights a week on the home front. The guitarist gets to solo, but the ensemble sound revolves around the solid bop of the three-horn front line on the first four tunes, and his brother's vibes on the ballads and the final three selections (from the musical Kismet). Wes cuts loose on the title track, and while his dry, elastic tone is somewhat different from his sound on the Riverside records, his chops are all here -- the octaves, the block chords, and the dizzying lines. Fingerpickin' is a fascinating trip to the source.
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AllMusic Review by Rovi Staff