Wes Montgomery

Encores, Vol. 2: Blue 'n' Boogie

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Encores, Volume Two continues the roundup of Wes Montgomery's cherishable alternate takes, eight of the ten of which were previously available only on the 12-CD box. The album picks up the three additional tracks from the live Full House sessions not included on the CD version, moves on to an extensive five-tune sampling of Montgomery's sole Riverside album with strings, Fusion!, and concludes with a pair of organ-trio outtakes from 1963. The Full House section reaches a peak with a burning rendition of "Blue 'N' Boogie," while "Cariba" is audibly less well organized than the approved take. The alternate versions of the Fusion! tracks are as lovely as the approved ones (the string fluff at the close of "Prelude to a Kiss" notwithstanding), and it is a pleasure to have another, brisker take of the best chart on the session, "Tune-Up." Of the final two tracks, the most valuable is the remake of "Movin' Along" in the organ-trio format, which sounds better without the dry, toneless flute of James Clay. For collectors who have hunted down all of the original LPs or CDs and find the 12-CD box a bit expensively redundant, or for newcomers who want an introduction to the Riverside recordings, this and Encores: Volume One are highly recommendable.

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