Wes Montgomery

20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection

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Wes Montgomery recorded for Riverside, Verve, and A&M Records, with his most popular and least jazz-oriented discs produced for the latter two labels. Both of them are now subsumed within the major label Universal, and Universal's Hip-O reissue imprint here presents a Montgomery title as part of the discount-priced best-of series 20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection, drawing on the material, originally released between 1964 and 1968. With the help of producer Creed Taylor, who provides string and horn arrangements to back him, Montgomery mostly plays the melodies of familiar '60s pop hits like "The Shadow of Your Smile," "Goin' out of My Head," "Tequila," "California Dreamin'," "Windy," and "When a Man Loves a Woman." The playing is always pleasant and identifiable, but, to the dismay of Montgomery's jazz fans, the genre is better described as easy listening than jazz. The casual fan will get a good idea of Montgomery's sound at the end of his short career for a modest price.

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