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"CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL" - A New Series Created By William Mesnik, The Mind Behind “Mesmerized”- EPISODE # 24 - "HARMONIC CONVERGENCE" - FEATURING THE ALBUM "CALIFORNIA DREAMING" By WES MONTGOMERY IN HIGH DEFINITION WITH NARRATIVE

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“HARMONIC CONVERGENCE

EPISODE 42: CALIFORNIA DREAMING by Wes Montgomery (Verve, 1966)

My favorite jazz guitarist has always been Wes Montgomery. It was the Beatles that brought us together – the cover of A Day in the Life album drew me in, and when I heard those swingin’ octaves I was hooked. I couldn’t figure it out. As an aspiring guitarist, hearing that sound was a revelation, and there was no way to simulate it.

It took a greater virtuoso than myself, George Benson, to approximate it. George even bought one of Wes’s Gibson L5s to inspire the mojo. Wes, before him, revered Charlie Christian, and taught himself to play by imitating him – so, there’s a direct line of descendants laying down the track of greatness.

How did he produce so unique a sound? He played without a pick, using only his thumb, which accounts for the warm, mellow tone. Then, there’s the soloing on the octaves… pure magic. The other thing worth mentioning is that Wes was probably one of the most popular “cross-over” jazz artists of all time, covering the pop titans of the period: The Beatles, and on this tape The Mamas and the Papas. He won the Grammy for best instrumental performance in 1967, covering Little Anthony and the Imperials hit Goin’ Out of my Head. In this way he became Jazz’s ambassador to the next generation.

Wes died tragically young at the age of 45, leaving a legacy of timeless, feel-good music. To quote his website: “he changed the language of jazz guitar” with his unparalleled, harmonic chord stylings, and we are all the richer for it.

“California Dreaming” (John Phillips, Michelle Phillips) – 3:08 “Sun Down” (Wes Montgomery) – 6:03 “Oh, You Crazy Moon” (Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke) – 3:44 “More, More, Amor” (Sol Lake) – 2:54 “Without You” (Rinaldo Marino, Walter Myers) – 3:05 “Winds of Barcelona” (Lake) – 3:07 “Sunny [alternate take]” (Bobby Hebb) – 3:07 “Sunny” (Hebb) – 4:04 “Green Peppers” (Lake) – 2:56 “Mr. Walker” (Montgomery) – 3:39 “South of the Border” (Jimmy Kennedy, Michael Carr) – 3:13


By Rich Buckland 08/29/2021 04:36 PM

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