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Wes Montgomery Characteristics

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Kahlil Lumbala
Grant Parker
MUHFL 315
11/19/2017
Wes Montgomery
George Benson, Larry Coryell, Pat Metheny, and Russell Malone. Do you know what all four guitar soloist have in common? Those four guitar icons were all influenced by Wes Montgomery, who is known as one of the greatest guitarists in the history of jazz. During the 1950s and 1960s, he helped define the modern jazz guitar during that span. Sadly at the height of his career, he passed away due to a heart attack, but his style is influential still to this day. His idiomatic conception to the instrument and the power of his solos led me to write this report on how he is one of the greatest guitarists of our time. Three reasons stand out to me when you think of Wes Montgomery as being
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Before he made his last song before his death, Pete Welding mentioned he couldn’t play uninterested even if he wanted to. It was well known that Montgomery felt like he was trapped by the music industry to make old renditions his most popular tunes from his old albums. The main thing that stood out was as he moved to larger labels, his popularity grew as he went to the larger labels. Also mentioned earlier, his techniques solidified his place as a legendary jazz improviser. The way he plucked his melodies and chords was unlike his fellow guitarist. His skills as an improviser are also undervalued, as he was an iconoclastic improviser. When he passed away he was considered as one of the best selling jazz artists of his time. According to Academia, Montgomery’s impact was important because “The high degree of sonoric individuality and distinctiveness he had attained”. The fact that he had no formal musical education prior made it more astonishing that he his the icon he is today besides his lack of knowledge prior. Before his death, he produced some great solos improvised by himself, which made it more unique. The influences had spread around the world ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Muzak. His legacy will live on forever, from either his play styles or his influence being used by Icons who embraced…show more content…
We should look at his unique play style, using his thumb instead of using a pick. Sounding absurd at that time, he defied the odds and turn his method of playing the guitar into his signature playstyle that the whole world would recognize. With his signature play style, he would be recognized as one of the influential bebop artists this world has ever seen. Second, we should look at his 20-year dominance of long sustain success from playing on tour with Lionel Hampton to dropping his own albums. His hard work finally paid off when he won a Grammy for “Best Influential Jazz Performance”. Third, we should look at his legacy and accomplishments that still lives on to this day. His commercial success is the highest than any other jazz artist of his time. Also, he had newfound success with pop music which was discouraged by fans but still had a lot of success with his pop-jazz combo music. With those three key factors, we should recognize him as one of the greatest Guitarist. If you think of Wes Montgomery, think of him as one of the pioneers of Jazz. Think of him as being one of the first people to develop his own style. Think of him in any way you want, but don't forget the iconic trail he left in the history of
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