11 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Wes Montgomery’s 1966 offering for Verve is anchored by two of the era’s most ubiquitous pop hits: Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” and the Mamas & The Papas’ “California Dreaming.” Backed by orchestral arrangements by Don Sebesky, the songs showcase Montgomery’s wondrous tone. While purists whined that Montgomery wasn’t improvising like he did in the Riverside years, they missed the fact that simplicity can be the essence of maturity. Like a great singer, Montgomery didn’t need to use flurries of notes when he could make his statement with just a few. His mature tone brings depth to the tunes, even when he is only iterating the melody. California Dreaming provides moments of sublime delicacy — just witness the thumbed chords that Montgomery employs to guide “Winds of Barcelona,” or the gentle octaves he brings to “Sun Down.” Deepened by contributions from Herbie Hancock, Bucky Pizzarelli and Ray Barretto, this album provides a well of sophistication, even if you have to look beyond the album’s pop guise to find it.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Wes Montgomery’s 1966 offering for Verve is anchored by two of the era’s most ubiquitous pop hits: Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” and the Mamas & The Papas’ “California Dreaming.” Backed by orchestral arrangements by Don Sebesky, the songs showcase Montgomery’s wondrous tone. While purists whined that Montgomery wasn’t improvising like he did in the Riverside years, they missed the fact that simplicity can be the essence of maturity. Like a great singer, Montgomery didn’t need to use flurries of notes when he could make his statement with just a few. His mature tone brings depth to the tunes, even when he is only iterating the melody. California Dreaming provides moments of sublime delicacy — just witness the thumbed chords that Montgomery employs to guide “Winds of Barcelona,” or the gentle octaves he brings to “Sun Down.” Deepened by contributions from Herbie Hancock, Bucky Pizzarelli and Ray Barretto, this album provides a well of sophistication, even if you have to look beyond the album’s pop guise to find it.

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