Wes Montgomery


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Right in the middle of his Verve period, Wes Montgomery took off on his only European tour, stopping at Paris' Theatre des Champs Elysees for a concert that yielded several imported LPs from 1978 onward. Armed only with the serviceable piano trio of Harold Mabern (piano), Arthur Harper (bass) and Jimmy Lovelace (drums), Montgomery demonstrates to all doubters that commercial success had not affected his ability to play straightahead, swinging, small-group jazz one iota. The tune mislabeled "Wes' Rhythm" (actually "Twisted Blues") is an extraordinary example of Montgomery stretching out -- starting with just Wes, bass and drums and developing into full, shouting call-and-response chords and octaves. "Four on Six" is another driving example of the Montgomery improvisational formula while "Impressions" is looser and more wayward than the famous live version with the Wynton Kelly Trio. Mabern's post-bop and modal ideas sometimes run somewhat ahead of his technique, but he does contribute a challenging uptempo piece, "To When." The live remote recording quality, though mono, is excellent on this LP; you'll hear every detail clearly.

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