"Jazz is the only music that's ever goin' to last. Jazz was, is, and always will be."-Jimmy Smith
This page is made for the people who enjoy jazz music, especially Wes Montgomery's music. Included are facts on Wes, two transcriptions of his best work, and links to other jazz and Wes cites.
Also known as the greatest Jazz guitarist, Wes began playing the guitar along side his two brothers. Wes was a self taught guitarist. His brothers also played instruments and were recognized as accomplished musicians when they decided to tell people about their brother Wes. At thirty-four years old, Wes was only beginning to become famous. He played gigs with his brothers for a while, and when up on stage, he would play the Charlie Christian solos he had memorized from records.
He preferred using his thumb as opposed to a pic when playing the guitar. He liked the tone that the guitar had when he played it with his thumb, but he also liked the pic because he was able to phrase his solos better with accurate speed. Wes later decided he could only use one style of picking, so oddly he chose his thumb. Any guitarist knows that it is no easy task to do that. Using his thumb had several advantages though. One being that it had a deeper, smoother sound, but also, he wouldn't have to wake up his sleeping wife and kids after he came home from his day job. The guitar would be too loud when he used the pic.
When Wes started making recordings under his own name, people started to recognize that Wes Motgomery was more than just an average guitarist. His style was odd because, at the time, not many guitar players used so many octaves. Wes would use the octaves for just about every note in a song, even while playing fast with accurate speed. His choice for using his thumb instead of a pic became likely that he did it for the smooth octave tone he had become so famous for in the future. Wes would soon become the model for many musicians that followed jazz.
Wes played with many great jazz musicians including Jimmy Smith, Tommy Flanagan, Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, and for a short time, John Coltrane. But he continued to play with his brothers the most. His guitar playing was matched to be the greatest no matter where he went, by his audience, as well as other musicians. Wes played some of the most artistic jazz that music has brought us. He would use songs originally written by Hollywood song writer's and old jazz tunes made before he was born, and played them in the "Wes Montgomery" style he invented. Wes was also a brilliant song writer. Roadsong and West Coast Blues would be two of the most influential and famous songs for years to come.
In 1968, Wes died of a heart-attack and left the world of jazz and his family. But his music and soulful style (musically and spiritually), were never forgotten.
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From St.Louis Community College at Forest Park.
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