Wes Montgomery: West Coast Blues
West Coast Blues
Wes Montgomery (guitar)
The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery (Riverside RLP 1169)
Composed by Wes Montgomery.
Recorded: New York, January 26, 1960
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Probably the greatest jazz solo ever played on the guitar, Wes Montgomery's legendary 9-chorus improvisation on "West Coast Blues" (from his 1960 landmark recording on Riverside) is also the perfect summary of his style. All the elements that make up his unique musical universe are showcased here more brilliantly and succinctly than ever. His three main improvisational devices – single notes, octaves, and chords – are given 4, 3, and 2 choruses respectively. But above all Wes's astonishing melodic inventiveness, i.e. his ability to improvise marvelously beautiful and strikingly original melodies (an ability that arguably only a handful of musicians in the history of jazz possessed to a comparable degree), is displayed in every single phrase of his solo. This is followed by an equally melodic solo by piano giant Tommy Flanagan, who by the way did some of the most brilliant and lyrical playing of his career on this recording. Essential.
Reviewer: Michael Papadopoulos