Various Artists

A Tribute to Wes Montgomery [Radioland]

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Ever since his emergence in 1959, Wes Montgomery has been a major influence on other jazz guitarists. Wes was greatly touched by Charlie Christian's single-note bop lines, although by mastering octaves and developing a slightly different sound, he was able to stand out a bit from the influence. On this consistently swinging set, six different Canadian guitarists pay homage to Montgomery by performing two songs apiece with a trio; there are eight standards plus four originals in Montgomery's style. All of the guitarists (Peter Leitch, Reg Schwager, Ed Bickert, Rob Piltch, Ted Quinlan and Sonny Greenwich) were influenced by Wes's sound, although Greenwich has long had his own slightly different style. The trios, except in the case of Piltch (who utilizes organist Doug Riley in addition to drummer Bob McLaren), feature the lead soloist accompanied by bass and drums. Of the dozen selections, Leitch's rendition of "If I Should Lose You," Quinlan's "Wes Blues" and Bickert's swinging version of "Whisper Not" are highlights. This well-conceived tribute set is worth searching for.