Jazz Music

Wes Montgomery phrase #7 | Jazz Guitar Lesson

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Published by Admin in Guitar


PDF notation,tabs and MP3s for this&other videos are available for download at http://www.miamijazzguitar.com/signature-series.html

The Jazz Guitar Signature Series consists of short video lessons that explore the styles of the most influential guitarists throughout the history of Jazz. Each lesson consists of a short phrase played over a recurring harmonic progression (eg. II-V-I) which was transcribed off one of the featured artist's recordings.

About Wes Montgomery: He was born on March 6, 1923 in Indianapolis, Indiana and was a late bloomer on the guitar first learning how to play in 1942, at age 19. Montgomery was born into a musical family; his brother Buddy played piano and vibraphone while his brother Monk played bass. They later released various albums together as the Montgomery Brothers.
Wes Montgomery like most of his contemporaries was greatly influenced by Charlie Christian. Montgomery learned Christian's recorded solos note per note and in 1948 was hired by Lionel Hampton (who had played alongside Christian in Benny Goodman's band). After 2 years of touring Montgomery returned to Indianapolis to support his family of eight. There he worked in a factory from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm and in the evenings kept his chops up by performing in local clubs from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am! It was at one of these late night sessions that saxophonist Cannonball Adderley first heard Wes. He was so impressed that first thing next morning Adderley phoned record producer Orrin Keepnews, who signed Montgomery to a recording contract with Riverside Records. He stayed with the label from 1959 until its bankruptcy in 1963. During this period Montgomery produced what critics consider his best recordings.

In spite of not being skilled in reading music notation, Montgomery who usually played a Gibson L-5CES guitar, developed a very personal and sophisticated style becoming one of the most influential jazz guitarists after Charlie Christian. Montgomery's signature sound soon became recognizable to jazz listeners worldwide due to the fact that unlike other guitarists who used a plectrum, Wes used his thumb exclusively to pluck the strings. In addition he pioneered the use of octaves (playing the same note on two strings in a low and high pitch simultaneously). Although even Django Reinhardt had played them occasionally, Montgomery developed the ability to solo over entire choruses of a tune, exclusively playing octaves at very fast tempos.
Wes Montgomery died of a heart attack on June 15, 1968.

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