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March 6, 1923 - June 15, 1968
Wes Montgomery and his Quartet are featured on a 1965 broadcast of "Jazz 625."
Wes Montgomery, guitar
Arthur Harper, bass
Harold Mabern, piano
Jimmy Lovelace, drums
One of the most influential guitarists of modern jazz, Wes Montgomery was heavily affected by his predecessors Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt.
After a touring with Lionel Hampton's band in the late '40s he set out to find a place for his instrument in the newly emerging world of hard bop, to great success.
Instead of using a pick Montgomery played with his thumb and frequently used a technique known as "the Naptown Sound" in which he played the same note on two strings an octave apart. His guitar style also encompassed an expressive single note attack peppered with chords.
Between 1959 and 1963 Wes produced a string of celebrated small group recordings for the Riverside Records label and would make records backed by an entire orchestra for Verve during the mid-'60s.
He recorded two of his most popular compositions "Four on Six" and "West Coast Blues" in 1960 released on "The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery" with a quartet also featuring pianist Tommy Flanagan, and a rhythm section comprised of brothers Percy and Albert "Tootie" Heath.
In the final stretch of his career the guitarist began to perform outside of jazz releasing three pop albums for A&M with an orchestra conducted by Don Sebesky.
At his home in Indianapolis Wes Montgomery awoke on the morning of June 15, 1968 with complainants of feeling ill and died from a sudden heart attack moments later.
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