A gold record.
Jazzcat | Genoa, Italy Italy | 09/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nowadays the rarest album in the whole Montgomery catalog this album went out of print long ago. I own everything Wes recorded in his life, all the original stuff (Verve, Riverside, A&M) plus some concerts recorded in those magic 9 years Wes played professionally (1959/1968). I consider this album as one of his best, Riverside albums included. It is very rare but more than ten years ago I have been lucky enough to find a copy of this cd and to buy it. It was the "Real 24 carat gold" edition of this album (I mean real gold), a part of a very limited edition serie of some of the best Jazz albums ever (for example Soultrane from John Coltrane was included in the serie). It was very very expensive, something like 40 or 50 US dollars here in Italy, but you have to consider that it was 1990's ... (1993 to be exact) so it was VERY expensive. However I bought it. I'm happy I did it because this album's value is 2, 3, 10 times more. I'm not Joking. If I was not having it, I'd spend that money to buy it.
These nine years with Wes has been only nine years yes, but how intense they were for the jazz world and for the guitar community in particular! Wes introduced a new way not only of playing the guitar in Jazz but another incredible way of playing Jazz in general! He was an hard bopper for sure just like Sonny Rollins, Johnny Griffin, Coltrane himself, but in the end his own man with an immense personality! I consider him as one of the greatest talent Jazz gave us and probably the guitar's Charlie Parker! Wes seemed unable to do something which was not absolutly outstanding (at least until A&M records which are less beautiful but not for Wes's fault but for A&M responsibilities). He recorded in those nine years a masterpiece after another and this record is no exception! This album belongs to an happy period in Wes career. The Verve period. He was already very successful thanks to the fantastic Riverside albums he recorded and he changed record company at the time arriving in Verve where they gave him a lot of money and so they were decided to take Wes to the highest heights of success. And they did. But with quality material, with quality music. With albums like this one.
This album is an orchestrated one. The director (if my memory is not going wrong) was no less than Nelson Riddle the best "easy Jazz orchestra" director of them all! He surrounded Wes with very balanced arrangements, powerful in some points and tender in other points. A perfect velvet background for Wes's fantastic solos. Wes blows here exactly like he did in the Riverside hard bop albums simply the enviroment is richer. This is not an A&M record and Nelson Riddle is a way better director than Don Sebesky (A&M choice for director chair in Wes's albums). A&M records were commercial, radio albums. This is a Jazz album with fantastic arrangements! Big difference! Wes begins here without any hurry. The title track is pure winning sixties soul jazz. What a tone Wes had! Unbelievable! So big, so warm so surrounding! He was unreachable! Jim Hall once joked that one day in the sixties he "thought to close Wes's thumb in a car's door" ... just to tribute his talent. He was SO big!! Then the album's program goes on with some popular tunes. On some of them Wes outplay every cat in the biz. For real. Listen to what he did to "Chim Chim Cheere". Unbelievable! He transformed a simple childish tune in a Jazz anthem! Faaaaaaaantastic! Phenomenal! And a big applause to Oliver Nelson too! Then you have a couple of Wes's best originals, "Naptown blues" and "Twisted blues" and in the end some superlative standards interpretations.
Really. This album is one of the best in the entire Wes's career along with "Smoking at the half note", "Willow weep for me" and all his Riverside recordings. Wes blows here with happyness and abandon and show his talents at the fullest. There will never be another Wes. His jazz always send me out of my head!"
Goin' Out of My Head
D. James Bridges | ayer, ma United States | 08/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A reviewer from Italy thought that Nelson Riddle did the arrangements for this LP. The correct name of the arranger for this LP would be the late, great saxophonist/arranger/composer Oliver Nelson."
Gone Out of My Head in My First Audition at 16 Years Old.
David Ponce de Leon | 02/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"by David Ponce de León, Los Angeles.
(NOTE TO AMAZON.COM: Dear Amazon, This review may be a little long, but it SHARES with readers how I WAS IMPRESSED the first time I head the Audio Cassette (before CDs). I hope you like it too. Thank you.)
BOSS GUITAR INDEED AN APT DESCRIPTION
As a young boy in the 1960s, I often heard Jazz in many movies -- American, Mexican, French, British, and Spanish movies. In the 1970s -- when Heavy Metal and Disco were in -- I was drawn to Jazz. I wondered if something was wrong with me.
To me, the sound of Jazz seemed universally hip, although I knew little about music in general, let alone Jazz. I was unfamiliar with the protagonists of the genre. To me Jazz seemed intense.
When George Benson made his hit "On Broadway" (Weekend in L.A. Album), I knew I loved that full Jazz guitar sound and the chromatic scales, syncopation, etc. On the album is a song "We All Remember Wes" by Stevie Wonder. I wondered who Wes was.
When I was a John Marshal High School senior, the lady who was my girlfriend at the time was a UCLA student. When I had time off from classes but she had classes, I would visit her at UCLA (which I began attending a year later and where I was fortunate enough to have studied under Kenny Burrell).
To enjoy time while my girlfriend was in her lectures, I discovered the Audio Room in Powell library. Having studied intensely in High School in preparation for a Physics Major at UCLA, having studied Honors and Advanced Placement English, French, Spanish, Mathematics, Biology and Physics, by the time I was sixteen I felt that I had already had developed some judgment of authenticity and quality in many things, including but not limited to . . . . music (this review is about Wes Montgomery's "Goin' Out of My Head;" this brief interlude into my history is only to establish my "qualification" to review music; I also play the guitar, saxophone, piano, clarinet, and bass, have led my own band(s), and worked professionally for years in the past).
I'm a purist type of guy. I don't care for layers of "production" Barry Manilow style. I particularly dislike excessive use of musical devices (musical tricks) to make music appear grander than it is to conceal the lack of substance in the essence of a musical piece. These devices "impress" the amateur music enthusiast. The overwhelming majority of today's popular music is laden with these. A notable exception: Nora Jones. So as you can see, I'm not easily impressed. By consequence, I don't easily praise a musical work.
In the list of audio cassettes that one could listen to in the audio room (while studying, of course), was "Goin' Out of My Head," by . . . . Wes Montgomery. I said to myself, "this must be the "Wes" referred to in George Benson's album and Stevie Wonder's song. So I said, "let's take a listen."
In the Audio Room, listening stations had cassette playback units install in individual listening booths, with jacks for stereo headphones. Don't forget: headphones typically provide the best listening quality for "quality" music.
BOSS GUITAR INDEED AN APT DESCRIPTION! THE LUSH SOUND, THE DEPTH, THE SUBTLETY, THE COUNTERPOINT, THE INTENSITY OF HUMANITY, THE CREATIVITY, THE ARRANGEMENTS, THE GENIUS (where should I stop)!!! I said to myself: this is me, this is what I love! I have heard that Album (or cassette; I suppose I should buy the CD) a thousand times over. I IMMEDIATELY became a Wes Montgomery fan. This is the DEFINITE MUST HAVE album for any Wes Montgomery collector or the "in-general" jazz guitar enthusiast or student, or even the general admirer of America's contribution to music, Jazz.
From the opening title cut is stated the definition of BOSS GUITAR (what a name, don't you think). The second tune, O Morro by World Great Composer Antonio Carlos Jobim displays Wes' comfort with Brazilian subleties and Wes' beautiful melody chords. In all, one comes to comprehend the genius of Wes Montgomery -- a man who could NOT read music, and only chose to play the guitar at the late age of 29. With this album alone, one comprehends why Wes was and continues to be an American Legend, revered the globe around. I noticed that the price for the CD - new or used, is $24.99; i.e., not cheap. I'm lucky to own an original LP, scratch sounds and all.
Wes left us with the gift of his recorded music -- a gift for the entire world -- a gift that shows the potential greatness of the human spirit and ability to create beauty (to contrast with with the human spirit to wage war and to destroy, generally speaking, unbeautiful).
The guitar is a formidable instrument -- on occasion under appreciated -- to my delight, generally considered a Spanish instrument, if it had to be given a nationality. Whether one enjoys Classical, Ensemble, Jazz, Heavy Metal, Pop, Classic Rock, New Age, the guitar has earned the respect of a dinstinguished instrument.
Wes Montgomery increased its greatness and gave it a truly American nationality to the descendant of its Spanish ancestor.
FOR MAXIMUM EFFECT: Buy the CD WITHOUT pre-listening, and based on my review alone. Play it back (remember the term, "playback"?) ON YOUR VERY BEST SOUND SYSTEM (it deserves nothing less) as loud as you reasonably can, or better yet listen on your best headphones.
Just like I can say that I will never forget that girlfriend nor the very first time . . . . . . . . . when I heard Wes Montgomery and "Goin' Out of My Head," I PROMISE YOU that when you do hear it for the first time, YOU WILL BE PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN, AND YOU WILL GET GOOSE BUMPS."