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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Wes Montgomery and Three Overmatched Strangers Play Four on Six

Wes always smiles. He was one of the most genial musicians ever. He had a challenging life, so he always seemed glad to be there, no matter where there was. It beat his factory job, and he knew it.

No one springs from Zeus’ head without being an amalgamation of things that came before. That being said, Wes Montgomery came as close to inventing an original method of playing the guitar as anyone I can think of. It’s the sort of thing that’s born of endless work in obscurity for long periods. Wes used to play the guitar after he got home from his blue-collar job, and he didn’t want to wake his wife and many kids. He used his thumb to gently strike the strings instead of a plectrum. It eventually led to half of his unusual sound.

The rest of it was this triptych soloing method. It was also born of playing alone for long periods. First comes a melody. Then he doubles it. Then he plays it passing through block chords. When you hear it, you think, “That’s Wes Montgomery, or someone trying to sound like Wes Montgomery.” He was trying to sound like more than one person at a time, and he didn’t play the piano.

The fellows are Europeans coalesced from whoever’s handy. They’re not prepared for the tempo, or the hole they have to fill when it’s their turn to solo. Wes just smiles. He’s familiar with playing with inferior talent, but soldiering on regardless. He played alone for a long time, and he must have been inferior for a few minutes, surely.

[Update: Many thanks to longstanding friend Russell Maryland for his generous support via our PayPal tipjar. It is very much appreciated]

[Further Update: Many thanks to our friend Bill O in Tejas for his generous support via our PayPal tipjar. It’s very much appreciated]

[Further Update: Many thanks to Thomas M. in Texas for his generous support via our PayPal tipjar. It is very much appreciated]

17 Responses

  1. I've never seen Wes before – he was a good looking man. And unlike many musicians had well kept hands.

    This was not a trump joke.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sublime. Although I might be a bit more forebearing of his jazz journeymen accompanists. Sure, they're not quite in the pocket and the pianist was trying to be Dave Brubeck, but they don't detract. Sometimes the band helps you shine; sometimes you just shine no matter what.

  3. Kind of the analogy of you writing on the blogger. You must forebear. Or foreburden. See? We sit at your feet.

    Adding this to my new tunes list. Stay loose, daddyO.

  4. Sipp, if you like great guitar (and who doesn't?) you should youtube Tommy Emmanuel. Just saw him live – he played nonstop for two hours, and was a revelation.

  5. I, too, keep checking in. Missing my Sipp 'fix' as well as wonderful videos of The Boys. Hope all is well there with everyone. I miss y'all!

  6. Hello Sipp –

    Hope all is well up there in Maine. I was going to visit and check in on you, but I was told that you can't get there from here.


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