Wes Montgomery / The Montgomery Brothers

Groove Brothers

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Groove Brothers Review

by Richie Unterberger

Although this is billed to Wes Montgomery, it is in fact a combination of two early-'60s LPs by the Montgomery Brothers -- The Montgomery Brothers and The Montgomery Brothers in Canada -- onto one disc. (Also note that it's almost entirely different from the Montgomery Brothers' Milestone double LP that also bears the name Groove Brothers, which mostly features material from their Riverside LP Groove Yard.) With Wes on guitar, Monk on bass, and Buddy on piano (Larance Marable fills out the quartet on drums), The Montgomery Brothers (1960) is a boppish set of five lengthy tracks, divided between both originals (penned by either Wes or Buddy) and standards. "June in January" is a particularly good vehicle for Wes' fluid single-note runs, while "D-Natural Blues" is one of his more enduring and good-natured compositions from the period. Buddy Montgomery, who often played the piano with the Montgomery Brothers, sticks exclusively to vibes on The Montgomery Brothers in Canada, which in addition to Wes and Monk has Paul Humphrey on drums. This club date (which on this CD reissue has been presented without the overdubbed applause on the original LP) is a solid set of cool but not cold bop, with a low-key mood and uniformly tasteful playing. There's only one original on here (by Buddy), but it's a beaut: the buoyant "Beaux Arts" has gorgeous alternations of single-note solos and chording by Wes. In a different vein, "Angel Eyes," which begins with a long drumless passage, shows Wes' skill with a delicate slow ballad.

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