The two-CD set Impressions: The Verve Jazz Sessions salvages Wes Montgomery's straight jazz sessions for Verve, leaving the pop-oriented covers and orchestral sessions to the original albums. There are selected numbers from albums like Movin' Wes, Goin' Out of My Head and California Dreaming, illustrating that those albums were hardly worthless -- each track proves that Montgomery's touch remained elegant and supremely tasteful. The second disc is devoted to the complete sessions for Smokin' at the Half Note, the legendary recording Montgomery made at Van Gelder Studios in 1965 with bassist Paul Chambers, pianist Wynton Kelly and drummer Jimmy Cobb. The music on the record is easily among Montgomery's finest, and this is the first time that all the music from the sessions has been collected in one place. That alone makes it worthwhile for hardcore collectors, but the set also makes an excellent summation of his Verve years for less dedicated fans, since it rounds up his very best work on one attractive set.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2