Wes Montgomery & Wynton Kelly: No Blues

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.

February 17, 2008 · 0 comments


John McLaughlin: No Blues

McLaughlin's organ trio group The Free Spirits released its one and only album, Tokyo Live, in 1993. It is not one of my favorite McLaughlin groups because I was never really happy with the sound of John's guitar. In person and live it was a great band because you could see John playing. But on record, his sound was too close to Joey DeFrancesco's organ to tell them apart during unison playing. With that caveat out of the way, the band, with Dennis Chambers on drums, did a killer version of "No Blues." With unison playing less of a role in this tune, McLaughlin's blues chops are front and center. They are somewhat traditional in sense of form, but his bending of the notes downward in pitch and not upward creates yet another John McLaughlin trademark sound.

January 26, 2008 · 0 comments


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