GEORGE SHEARING and The MONTGOMRY BROTHERS
George Shearing (p) Wes Montgomery (g) Buddy Montgomery 8vib)
Monk Montgomery (b) Walter Perkins (drs)
On Stranger in Paradise, The Lamp Is Low and Mambo in Chimes:
add Armando Peraza (cng, bng) Ricardo Chimelis (timbales, cong, bng)
(Perkins does not play on the last two of these selections)
Recorded in Los Angeles; October 9 and 10, 1961
Love Walked In (2:10) (George & Ira Gershwin)
Love for Sale (3:32) (Cole Porter)
No Hard Feelings (3:45) (Buddy Montgomery)
Enchanted (3:41) (George Shearing)
Stranger in Paradise (4:47) (Wright & Forrest)
The Lamp Is Low (2:11) (Parish-DeRose-Shefter)
Double Deal (3:47) (Wes Montgomery)
And Then I Wrote (3:15) (George Shearing)
Darn That Dream (4:18) (DeLange-Van Heusen)
Lois Ann (3:08) (Buddy Montgomery)
Mambo in Chimes (2:26) (Armando Peraza)
This album offers a most happy merger of strikingly talented performers. On first glance, you might understandably wonder how they came t be in the same recording studio at one time. But from the first listen there should be no questioning that they belonged together and that they mightily enjoyed being there. On the one hand, there is GEORGE SHEARING, the brilliant British-born piano stylist who has for more than a decade been among the top names in American music. And on the other hand there are the three very swinging and soulful MONTGOMERY brothers: WES, BUDDY and MONK, who have only fairly recently banded together and begun to make a decided impact on the jazz scene. But of course my phrasing is inaccurate: it’s not a case of “one hand” and “the other” – it’s very much a matter of some of the smoothest-flowing togetherness ever encountered outside the pages of a woman’s magazine …
One of the most fascinating aspects of jazz is the almost infinite number of rewarding combinations of men and styles that are possible. And particularly since some listeners, and critics, attend to get hard-headed about setting up rigidly separate categories and “schools,” it is always especially intriguing when chance and circumstance bring together supposedly divergent artists like these. Night club audiences in California, and then in New York, were the first to get unscheduled glimpses of the present amalgamation late in 1960 when Shearing discovered for himself the magnetic appeal of the Montgomerys and began sitting in with them whenever the opportunity presented itself. He found it particularly stimulating and challenging to work with the remarkable guitarist Wes Montgomery – whose truly incredible efforts have been startling the jazz world ever since the issuance of his first Riverside album at the end of ’59.
From their enjoyment of their informal encounters grew a mutual musical respect and affection that eventually and inevitably led to this album. Shearing, although in clubs he has continued to work primarily in a small-group framework, has in recent years done most of his recording with large brass-choir and lush-strings backgrounds. He made no secret of the fact that he was drawn t his date by the prospect of playing in a looser and more free jazz setting than he has been able to mix unity of feeling grow ever stronger during a series of informal rehearsals and get-togethers during the week preceding the recoding, and then had the pleasure of seeing it come to a peak in the studio. There is of course nothing surprising about the fact that the three Montgomerys mesh together perfectly. They began playing as a unit when they were all ‘teen-agers back in Indianapolis, although they were apart for a time while Buddy and Monk were gaining considerable success as the nucleus of “The Mastersounds.” Therefore the big news lies in the way they adapt themselves to Shearing and he to them, to produce a joyously swinging – although unfortunately only quite temporary – team.
With Shearing on piano, Buddy Montgomery, highly regarded both as a pianist and a vibraharpist, stays strictly on vibes. To round out the group, there is Walter Perkins, and impressive young drummer from Chicago who has led his own “MJT Plus Three” and has more recently worked with Carmen McRae. On three numbers with a decided Latin tinge, there’s a two-man Latin conga drumming has been featured with Shearing’s regular group for some eight years now.
There are a variety of approaches in evidence here, which much emphasis throughout on the rich blend of sound between piano, guitar and vibes, firmly supported by Monk Montgomery’s formidably solid bass and Perkins’ brush-work. Standards like Darn That Dream and Love Walked In feature excises in brisk counterpoint by George and Wes that may recall for some the exciting sound of the original Shearing quite of the late ‘40s. Love for Sale is given a blues-drenched, ‘bottom’ treatment that Cole Porter never had in mind. Stranger in Paradise manages t combine both Latin and soulful feelings before turning George, Buddy, Wes and finally Peraza loose to “blow”. During The Lamp Is Low, Armando switches from conga to bongos (just after Shearing’s solo) to drive out in a remarkable Latin-jazz finale. Moody, ballad-tempo originals are contributed by both George (Enchanted) and Buddy (Lois Ann), and there are also fresh and vigorously swinging new tunes from these two and from Wes, to round out this most intriguing musical collaboration.
Wes Montgomery can be heard on the companion Riverside label on such albums as :
Wes Montgomery Trio (Riverside RLP 310; Stereo 1156)
The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery (Riverside RLP 320; Stereo 1169)
Movin’ Along (Riverside RLP 342; Stereo 9342)
So Much Guitar! (Riverside RLP 382; Stereo 9382)
The three brothers appear together on :
Groove Yard: The Montgomery Brothers (Riverside RLP 362; Stereo 9362)
This recording is available in both Stereophonic (JLP 955S) and Monaural (JLP 55) form.
Produced by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Recording Engineer: WALLY HEIDER (United Sound Studios)
Mastered by Plaza Sound Studios
Album design: KEN DEARDOFF
Photographs by WILLIAM CLAXTON
JAZZLAND RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTINS, Inc,
235 West 46th Street, New York 36, New York