Saturday, March 06, 2010


O guitarrista de jazz americano John Leslie Wes Montgomery, famoso musicalmente como Wes Montgomery, nasceu no 6 de março de 1925, em Indianápolis, Indiana .

Filho do meio de três irmãos, todos músicos, mudou-se ainda criança para Ohio. Autodidata, Wes começou a tocar só aos 19 anos, e por influência de Charlie Christian, de quem ouvia os discos e memorizava os solos, seis meses mais tarde, já tocava profissionalmente.

Wes tocava guitarra de uma maneira pouco ortodoxa, já que usava o polegar em vez da palheta, bem como um modo único de tocar em oitavas ou em block chords, o que tornava a sua guitarra mais expressiva e melodiosa. Muitos guitarristas do jazz atual consideram Wes como uma das suas principais influências, entre os quais: Pat Metheny e George Benson.

Sua extrema liberdade e fluidez no instrumento chamaram, desde o início, a atenção de músicos como Cannonball Adderley, e em 1960 lhe valeriam o prêmio New Star da revista DownBeat.
Wes definiu aquela que viria a ser a sonoridade clássica da guitarra de jazz nos anos 60 e tornou famosa a formação guitarra, orgão Hammond e bateria (The Wes Montgomery Trio 1959), Wes também interpretou " A Day in Life" dos Beatles em uma versão jazzística , em seu álbum também nomeado " A Day in Life".

Wes Montgomery, faleceu em julho de 1968.
Wes sola, magistralmente, "A Day in Life " dos Beatles.
Jazz guitarist John Leslie "Wes" Montgomery, was born March 6, 1923, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Generally considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others, including Pat Martino, George Benson, Emily Remler, Kenny Burrell and Pat Metheny.
He came from a musical family; his brothers, Monk (string bass and eletrict bass) and Buddy (vibraphone and piano), were jazz performers. The brothers released a number of albums together as the Montgomery Brothers. Although he was not skilled at reading music, he could learn complex melodies and riffs by ear. Montgomery started learning guitar relatively late, at the age of 19, by listening to and learning the recordings of his idol, guitarist Charlie Christian. He was known for his ability to play Christian solos note for note and was hired by Lionel Hampton for this ability.
Many fellow jazz guitarists consider Montgomery the greatest influence among modern jazz guitarists. Pat Metheny has praised him greatly, saying "I learned to play listening to Wes Montgomery's Smokin' At The Half Note." In addition, Metheny stated to the New York Times in 2005 that the solo on "If You Could See Me Now," from this album is his favorite of all time. Joe Pass said, "To me, there have been only three real innovators on the guitar--Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, and Django Reinhardt," as cited in James Sallis's The Guitar Players and in his Hot Licks instructional video. In addition, George Benson attests, "Wes had a corn on his thumb, which gave his sound that point. He would get one sound for the soft parts, and then that point by using the corn. That's why no one will ever match Wes. And his thumb was double-jointed. He could bend it all the way back to touch his wrist, which he would do to shock people." Kenny Burrell states, "It was an honor that he called me as his second guitarist for a session." In addition, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Jimmi Hendrix, David Becker, Joe Diorio, Steve Lukather and Pat Martino have pointed to him numerous times as a great influence.
Following the early work of swing/pre-bop guitarist Charlie Christian and gypsy-jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, Wes joined Tal Farlow,Johnny Simth, Jimmy Raney and Barney Kessell to put guitar on the map as a bebop / post-bop instrument. While these men generally curtailed their own output in the 1960s, Montgomery recorded prolifically during this period, lending guitar to the same tunes contemporaries like John Coltrane and Miles Davis were recording. While many Jazz players are regarded as virtuosos, Montgomery had a very wide influence on other virtuosos who followed him, and in the respect he earned from his contemporaries.
To many, Montgomery's playing defines jazz guitar and the sound that learners try to emulate.
Dave Miele and Dan Bielowsky claim, "Wes Montgomery was certainly one of the most influential and most musical guitarists to ever pick up the instrument....He took the use of octaves and chord melodies to a greater level than any other guitarist, before or since....Montgomery is undoubtedly one of the most important voices in Jazz guitar that has ever lived-or most likely ever will live. A discussion of Jazz guitar is simply not thorough if it does not touch upon Wes Montgomery." (Jazz Improv Magazine, vol 7 # 4 p. 26).
"Listening to [Wes Montgomery's] solos is like teetering at the edge of a brink," composer-conductor Gunther Schuller asserted, as quoted by Jazz & Pop critic Will Smith. "His playing at its peak becomes unbearably exciting, to the point where one feels unable to muster sufficient physical endurance to outlast it." Wes received many awards and accolades: Nominated for two Grammy Awards for Bumpin', 1965; received Grammy Award for Goin' Out of My Head as Best Instrumental Jazz Performance by Large Group or Soloist with Large Group, 1966; nominated for Grammy Awards for "Eleanor Rigby" and "Down Here on the Ground", 1968; nominated for Grammy Award for Willow, Weep for Me, 1969. Wes' second album, The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, earned him Down Beat magazine's "New Star" award in 1960. In addition, he won the Down Beat Critic's Poll award for best Jazz guitarist in 1960, '61, '62,'63, '66, and 1967. (, September 26, 2007).
By the time Montgomery released his first album for A&M Records, he had seemingly abandoned jazz entirely for the more lucrative pop market, though as in his Verve period he played his customary jazz in small group settings in live appearances. The three albums released during his A&M period (1967–68) feature orchestral renditions of famous pop songs ("Scarborough Fair," "I Say a Little Prayer for You," "Eleonor Rigby," etc.) with Montgomery reciting the melody with his guitar. These records were the most commercially successful of his career, but featured the least jazz improvisation.
He didn't have very long to live to enjoy his commercial success, however; in 1968, he woke one morning, remarked to his wife that he "Didn't feel very well," and minutes later collapsed, dying of a heart attack within minutes. Montgomery's home town of Indianapolis has named a park in his honor. He is the grandfather of actor Anthony Montgomery.
Wes and Buddy, along with Richard Crabtree and Benny Barth, formed "The Mastersounds", and recorded "Jazz Showcase Introducing The Mastersounds" and a jazz version of "The King and I", both released by World Pacific Records. They first played together at Seattle, particularly working up the set for "The King and I", at a club called Dave's Fifth Avenue. The composers were so impressed by the jazz version of "The King & I" that they pre-released the score of "Flower Drum Song" to the quartet to allow simultaneous release with the sound track album.
Reference - Wikipédia

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