Monday, January 24, 2011

Wes Montgomery - The Complete Smokin' at the Half Note


It has been well established by jazz pundits that Smokin' at the Half Note is one of the seminal recordings of live jazz guitar. Recorded on June 24, 1965 at the now defunct Half Note in NYC, it paired the legendary guitarist with Miles Davis' 50s rhythm section, Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. Their playing is the stuff of legend. What is definitely not stuff of legend though is Verve's marketing policy. Of the original LP album only two of the original five tracks were recorded at the Half Note ("No Blues" and "If You Could See Me Now"). At the behest of producer Creed Taylor, the other three were re-recorded on September 22, 1965 at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in New Jersey. To further complicate matters, the remaining Half note numbers were included in the LP Willow Weep for Me, a posthumous 1969 album laced with Claus Ogerman's string and brass arrangements (shock, horror!) added in the studio. For comic relief, Willow won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group. No doubt Wes was smiling in the sky. Our mission here is to demystify dubious artistic/marketing decisions made by clueless record producers and this 1998 version issued for the Japanese market puts things in order as it contains all nine numbers recorded during that historical night at the Half Note. I even went the extra step of adding Rodgers' and Hammersteins' version of The Surrey with the Fringe on Top contained in Wes' the The Verve Jazz Sides double CD as all previous issues of this track were heavily edited (a mid-solo fade-out in our case). This version restores as much of the original performance as possible, as heavy editing of the tape has rendered full recreation of the original an impossibility.

12 comments:

d3lta said...

flac, full scans

http://lix.in/-93562c

Fingerstyle said...

I own a 1976 double lp titled 'The Small groups recordings' (Verve 2632 064 A) which seems to contain the same material (also the tracks without overdubs). Do you know if it's the same material compiled on the cd?

Félix said...

Mistake in the tags, for a second I thought there were extra tapes with Paul Bley!
Anyway, thanks for this d3lta.

d3lta said...

@Fingerstyle, I don't own that LP, according to Discogs it's a UK release and sides A + B coincide. That leaves 3 tracks out. Four on Six (C2 on the LP) is the Van Gelder studio version.

@Felix, sry about that, you've got to blame this @%#@%^ tag auto-completer blogger feature, tags in order now (Bley + Wes would have been great though).

Anonymous said...

What's the password for the Wes Montgomery?
thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi,

sorry, but ... pwd?

Anonymous said...

pwd is at the right bottom of the page

Rodda said...

This site is awesome.

i cant work out the password bit though... bottom right of the screen is empty

Anonymous said...

Your blog is the first I've ever come across that maks the password a download--of all stupid wastes of time. Who the fuck do you think you are?

Mr.Pc said...

hi,
i added your blog to our blogwatch.
and please link us at your blog, too as a support.
thanks a lot.

mr. pc – http://jazzmusicblogwatch.blogspot.com
jazzmusicblogwatch@gmail.com

Mr.Pc said...

hi,
i added your blog to our blogwatch.
and please link us at your blog, too as a support.
thanks a lot.

mr. pc – http://jazzmusicblogwatch.blogspot.com
jazzmusicblogwatch@gmail.com

Gedeon said...

Hello,

Just a quick word to let you know that you are featured in our blogroll on Radio.Video.Jazz

Please check our site. If you like our work, do link back to us.

If you feel like contributing, let us know.

A lot of thanks.

The Radio.Video.Jazz Team