Artist: Wes Montgomery
Album: One Night In Indy
Label: Resonance Records
Release Date: 01/15/2016
You’ve heard the expression “I have more talent in my little finger than you do in your whole body” bandied about at least once in your life. Arguably this adage applies to one individual – jazz legend Wes Montgomery. In his case, the talent lies in his mighty right thumb.
It’s the thumb that guides Montgomery’s moods throughout his pieces. It also mutes his wide-bodied guitar slightly to give it a softer sound. On this archival recording, Montgomery basks in this sound and the ambiance of his hometown of Indianapolis, and sets about unleashing some plucky pep to complement the talents of pianist Eddie Higgins and his backing crew. Leaving the terms “white” and “black” by the door, Montgomery and Higgins provide great musical color on this album, a welcome additional to the former’s catalogue despite its audibly muddied sound.
Still, this takes place in 1959, nearly a decade before Montgomery passed away, so he’s in definite tip-top shape here. Opener “Give Me the Simple Life” is perky and full of life as the guitarist takes to his strings. This is a straightforward set of six songs, and not one of them is a bore. While it ain’t no Smokin’ at the Half Note, it only takes 40 minutes here to highlight why Wes Montgomery will never be relegated to background music. He’s just too talented.