Underrated But Expressive
BluesDuke | Las Vegas, Nevada | 12/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded as the original Riverside Records was about to collapse, this album, the almost-last from Wes Montgomery with his once-regular Indianapolis-bred working trio (they also did, with a couple of guest drummers on some cuts, the lovely "Guitar On The Go"), seems to have seen a fleeting release in the mid-1960s and disappeared until its reassembly on compact disc. And it shouldn't have been allowed to disappear, because this is some of the most expressive music the master guitarist created in his too-brief career. Aside from resurrecting the versions of "Blues Riff" (originally titled, erroneously, "Movin' Along") and "Moanin'" which Montgomery himself preferred (and, when you compare them to the originally-released versions included again here, you can understand why, since the guitarist's preferred takes seem both more complete and more soul-felt, on his part and the part of his clever partners, particularly organist Mel Rhyne); aside from a brisk interpretation of Miles Davis's "Freddie Freeloader" and a pretty "Lolita," you get one of the most striking songs Montgomery himself ever wrote, "Dangerous." From the moment Montgomery nudges forth his opening theme, this is the track above all that refuses to release its grip, so supple and lyrical are both the solos (the first one taken slinkily by Rhyne; the second, by Montgomery, in neatly seamed sequence from single-note stream to octave and chord stroking, making perhaps the most insinuating melodic and harmonic statement from his guitar of the set) and the accompaniments (Montgomery feeding Rhyne with gentle insistence; Rhyne subsequently feeding Montgomery likewise; colouristic drumming knitting them throughout). It seems a shame that a collapsing record company kept this underrated album by jazz's most singular guitarist from wider appreciation when born originally. Those who believe Wes Montgomery was never better than when playing strictly, and without augmentation, with small groups and especially his beloved guitar-organ-drums trio, should find this more than worthy of keeping company with "The Wes Montgomery Trio" and "Boss Guitar"."
Does It Get Any Cooler Than This?
Oliver Towne | Riverside, CA United States | 06/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not a whole lot, folks. If you are a lover of jazz and the genius of Wes Montgomery, I don't know why you'd spend more than 60 seconds trying to decide whether to get this. It's a very hip guitar-organ-drums sound, with everyone at the top of their form.Unlike some CD reissues that feature alternate tracks, this is a case where the inclusions make sense. "Blues Riff" (take 8) is very different from the original album track. "Moanin'" (take 7) is less so, but the creativity of the players is such that even someone who doesn't like repeats will probably keep listening. In short, if you don't own this, you are missing out big time."