WES MONTGOMERY The Incredible Jazz Guitar Of Wes Montgomery (Riverside)
No trace of hyperbole in that title, then? This 1960 album is perfectly pleasant, although in places, such as the opening cover of Sonny Rollins’ “Airegin”, the pace rises to something in the neighbourhood of frantic. The somewhat uninspiringly titled “D-Natural” blues always wrongfoots (wrongears?) me with its introductory similarity to “Heartbreak Hotel”. Montgomery’s languid playing is displayed to best effect on the ballad standards “Polka Dots And Moonbeams” and “In Your Own Sweet Way”, where it works with, rather than against the music. “West Coast Blues” is the most inspired of the album’s four originals, almost verging on sassy. Mostly, though, “The Entirely Believable Jazz Guitar Of Wes Montgomery” might be nearer the mark.
Unusually for an album in Fantasy’s Original Jazz Classics series, the sonics of the current vinyl incarnation are far from incredible. Generally sparkle-free, the high degree of tape hiss suggests a sub-par source.