Wes Montgomery

Small Group Recordings

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AllMusic Review by

This double LP contains the very best recordings that guitarist Wes Montgomery recorded for Verve. Actually most of these performances originally came out with woodwinds and brass arranged by Claus Ogerman added so as to make the music more commercial but fortunately the overdubs were tossed out for this reissue. For nearly the last time in his career, Montgomery got a chance to stretch out with a very complementary trio (pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb) and he really digs into the nine standards (which include his "Four on Six"). This record stands as proof that Wes Montgomery never did decline as a jazz improviser even while his recordings became much more pop-oriented. The two-fer is rounded out by two worthwhile numbers ("James and Wes" and "Mellow Mood") left over from the guitarist's collaboration with organist Jimmy Smith. This music is highly recommended either on this set or on CD.