Wes Montgomery & Wynton Kelly: No Blues
Wynton Kelly Trio
Smokin' at the Half Note (Verve V6 8633)
Composed by Miles Davis.
Recorded: live at the Half Note, New York, June 1965
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Recorded "live" performances usually fail to generate the excitement that actually being there gives a listener. In this rare exception, we are propelled back to that night in 1965 when a very special musical experience was delivered. Backed by one of the most underrated rhythm sections Miles Davis ever assembled, Wes Montgomery performs some of his most stirring guitar wizardry. This band swings throughout the whole album, but Wes's solo on Miles's tune "No Blues" is a masterpiece. Rhythmically driven by Chambers's anchored and relentless basslines, Cobb's beautifully sympathetic trap work, and Kelly's inimitable comping, Wes lets loose – sans the lush orchestrations of his later work – in a way that was rarely captured on record. His creativity still impresses after all these years. As the album notes indicate, Wes was so inspired that Wynton lays out for a spell just to marvel at the guitarist's virtuosity and enthusiasm. This is one of the finest examples of a live, smokin' performance by a quartet that obviously enjoyed playing together. It really shows.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello