In the wake of its massive The Complete Riverside Recordings box, Fantasy rounded up 13 of the 16 newly released Wes Montgomery outtakes from that set, added a few stray alternates from earlier LP issues, and produced a pair of intelligently programmed CDs that prove just how staggeringly gifted an improviser Montgomery was. Arranged in chronological order, Volume One opens with three alternate takes from the somewhat overlooked "Movin' Along" album, continues with two versions of "Doujie" -- one with Buddy Montgomery on vibes instead of piano -- from Groove Yard, and concludes with four from Bags Meets Wes. Everything is worth hearing, for Wes hardly ever misses, and the few times where he does -- as in the second chorus of "Blue Roz" -- are canceled out by marvelous newly revealed passages. Indeed, the solo on "Movin' Along" is more beautiful than that on the take Wes approved, and the different, extended, octave-rich tag on "So Do It" is wonderful (too bad producer Orrin Keepnews audibly cuts in and stops the music). The Bags Meets Wes outtakes have the advantage of the crack Philly Joe Jones/Sam Jones/Wynton Kelly rhythm section, as well as an inspired Milt Jackson on vibes.
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AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell