Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wes Montgomery: Four On Six

Its Tasty Licks Tuesday and I go back to the 60s to one of my favorite jazz guitarists – Wes Montgomery and his recording “Four on Six.” The title refers to the time signature of four beats to the measure being played on six strings of the guitar. Wes, born as John Leslie Montgomery, started playing guitar at a relatively late age of 20 being inspired by Charlie Christian’s recordings from the 1940s. He went on to inspire numerous guitarists and most notably George Benson and Pat Matheny.

This live version, much shorter than his commercially available versions of the same song, was recorded for television in 1965. It featured Wes on guitar, Jackie Dougan on drums, Stan Tracey on piano, and Rick Laird on standup bass. Notice where Wes’ fingers have rubbed the finish off of his Gibson guitar. I am not sure what model this is, but it is not the L-5 CES he often played, as there is only one pickup. The quality of this black and white video and the accompanying monaural audio is great.

Original Studio Recording

The original version of this song was released on the 1960 Riverside Records LP: “The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery.” Brothers Percy and Albert Heath handled the rhythm section while Tommy Flanagan tickles the ivories.

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