Wes Montgomery

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About Wes Montgomery

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1923, Wes Montgomery ranks as one of jazz’s most distinctive and individualist guitarists, with an instantly recognizable use of octaves and a plucking attack using the side of his thumb. Between 1948 and 1950, he worked in the big band led by vibist Lionel Hampton, later establishing himself in a group with his brothers Buddy and Monk. The family band relocated to California and made its first recordings for Pacific Jazz, but the guitarist returned to Indianapolis, where he formed a trio with organist Melvin Rhyne that soon signed with Riverside and released a string of albums elevating him as a major figure in jazz. Upon signing with Verve in the mid-'60s, Montgomery cut a series of string-sweetened crossover albums that set a repertoire of jazz standards alongside soul tunes and Beatles covers, presaging the emergence of smooth jazz decades later. He suffered a fatal heart attack in 1968.

Indianapolis, IN, United States
March 6, 1923
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