Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
As Many Stars As There Are In The Sky..
douglasnegley | Pittsburgh, Pa. United States | 09/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That's how many stars this incredible Live recording rates. There are so many special moments, musically, to treasure here that it's hard to know where to start. Wes' treatment of "I've Grown Accostomed To Her Face" is a solo showcase for his genius for musical dynamics - the way he thumb-strums the melody; the way he pauses and 'slurs down' on the two "words", referencing the lyrics; the way he intro's (and 'out-ros') in a different key...the next moment that comes to mind is in "Blue 'N Boogie". Wes gets off some machine gun licks, then hands it off to Wynton, Paul, and Jimmy. Listen to how Jimmy Cobb shifts the dynamic of the beat at the start of Wynton's third verse, bumping the off-beat and rim-clicking the 2/4 - literally creating a new level for Wynton to go to (which he does, with a Red Garland-esque block chord ending). The most amazing thing of all is that this is all a prelude to Johnnie Griffin's solo, followed by all around 'trading fours' to the end. It's a clinic in dynamics, group-style. On the next track, "Cariba", Wes gives a clinic on how to build, chorus after chorus, upon each previous statement. I think it may be one of his best solos of the night. Every track could be broken down into these kind of moments (I'll spare you...), but the point is that this band - specifically Wes with the Wynton Kelly trio, as Johnny Griffin is sweet icing on that cake, was one of the tightest, most dynamic jazz units to ever grace a stage. What a moment in Time that night must have been. What a CD this is."
Wes & Co. stretch out to devastating effect
Benjamin T. Young | Ephrata, PA | 07/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As one of the most influential jazz guitarists of all time (second only to perhaps Charlie Christian), Wes Montgomery created a vocabulary of techniques and mannerisms for jazzers similar to how Andres Segovia did for classical players. His trademarks - octaves, extended block chord solos, and above all, melodicism - blew many away in the forceful manner which Wes employed them. I feel that on this release, Full House, Wes demonstrates his talents as a bandleader and player better than most of his recordings, except for perhaps the legendary Smokin' at the Half Note.
The engineering on this record is superb; every instrument comes through in the mix loud and clear, yet retains a special spot in the audio spectrum and blends nicely with the other instruments. I personally own the 20-bit remaster, but it sounds to me like the basic mix itself was pretty good to begin with.
This is one of the most superb bands that jazz has perhaps ever seen. We have the esteemed Wynton Kelly trio, with Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums, to back up Wes, of course, and also on this occasion the formidable talents of saxophonist Johnny Griffin (who would pair with the same quartet on several later dates). Wes and Johnny often harmonize on the melodies, especially on "Cariba" and "S.O.S.", and it works quite well, especially with the notable difference in tone color between their instruments. Griffin has a sound that I can't quite pin down; to my ears, it doesn't sound distinctly like any of the sax masters, so it's a surprise that he isn't better known in the jazz canon. Regardless, his playing is superb and he goes toe-to-toe with Wes on nearly every cut.
The blues is in strong effect on this record, as with most Wes recordings; "Cariba", in fact, is at its core a basic 12-bar Latin blues, with a unique bassline that gives it a little bit of a distinctive sound. "Cariba" is also the cut with the best Wes solo (although "Full House" comes rather close as well). Really, the whole ensemble works together to make an overall appealing sound, and it's not just like the rhythm section is ticking away while the soloists blow. The drummer and Wynton are always in tune with the soloists, whether they're doing repeating riffs and Cobb comes in with a few synchronized cymbal hits, or the soloists step it up dynamically and the rhythm section follows them all the way. This is a little more evident on Smokin' at the Half Note, but that was several years later, when Wes had been playing with Wynton's trio on a regular basis; this is the genesis of their collaboration, and it's an impressive one.
So why only 4 stars if the record is overall incredible? Well, having multiple takes of the same song to fill space on a jazz record is not something I am particularly fond of. It makes it a little hard to listen to the record straight through multiple times and not get a little annoyed. Plus, each extra take is pretty routine. Also, the track selection is not quite perfect; "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" was not a good choice, as Wes's chord-melody playing is nowhere near his octave- or single-note talents. He is a master chord soloist, true, but he can't play chord-melody like Joe Pass or anything. Also, "Come Rain or Come Shine" is kind of a substandard tune on the record - not bad by any means, but every other track is killer, so it weighs down the others a bit.
This is still a very worthy purchase; the band is hot, and so are Johnny Griffin and Wes, and that's pretty much the fundamental selling point of any great jazz record. If multiple takes don't bother you much, this record is only more recommended. For everyone else, it's still a great album to just plain listen to; it's not boring like some jazz records, due to the incredibly dynamic playing of the band. Plus, hearing Wes live is pretty much the only way to go, and that's probably the best compliment I can give. I'm sure the club was a Full House on this night for sure."
Benjamin T. Young | 09/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been listening to jazz some 30 years, and for me this is one of the finest. If you a a jazz guitar fan, don't think twice about picking this one up. Wes is unbelievable, every note counts. If you a jazz fan in general, same goes for you. Blue n boogie has to be one the finest live recordings ever. Fabulous Wes solo, Paul Chambers with amazing lines, Johnny Griffin's solo which just keeps building and building, and Jimmy Cobb's crisp playing... did I leave out Wynton Kelly? What tasteful swinging lines...this is live jazz at its finest. You can pick any player and just listen to that player through a whole tune, you won't be bored."
I could have danced all night.
darragh o'donoghue | 04/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Purists who tend to dismiss Wes Montgomery's studio records as over-produced and, worse, populist, like to celebrate a live album like this as more 'authentic'. And there is no doubt that in this context, Montgomery relishes the freedom of length, the opportunity to construct intricate, accumulative, propulsive solos outside the three-minute pop format. Length here never means self-indulgence; there is a martial, almost military rhythmic discipline in a potentially bombastic opening like 'Full House', reined in throughout by Miles Davis' backing band. 'Come rain or come shine' is a sublime example of technical mastery reaping emotional dividends, while 'SOS' is a frenzied bebop blast. Amid all this frenetic speed, however, my favourites are the slowies: the cheerfully mournful 'Born to be blue'; and an abslolutely staggering stripping down of Lerner and Loewe's 'I've grown accostumed to her face', Higgins' hysterical self-analysis replaced by a calm, reflective arrangement, Wes's spare guitar fitfully accompanied by hushed percussion. It is so beautiful."