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Album review: 'In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording'

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Wes Montgomery

"In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording"

Resonance Records

resonancerecords.org

Pat Metheny has called him the greatest jazz guitarist ever, and listening to this new (old) Wes Montgomery album, it's hard to argue. There has long been a recording available of Montgomery's 1965 gig at the Théâtre des Champs-lysées in Paris, but it was a bootleg album. Resonance Records obtained the original tapes from the Office of French Radio and Television (ORTF) and made a new, gorgeous sounding mix. The new package also contains vintage photos from Montgomery's only European tour and a 32-page booklet containing interviews with sidemen, like pianist Harold Mabern.

Montgomery, who was soon to become more commercially oriented, was at his peak here on originals like "Four On Six," "Jingles," "Full House," and "Twisted Blues." He also personalized great tunes like Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" and Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen's "Here's that Rainy Day." Mabern is especially strong soloing on the latter. Special guest, saxophonist Johnny Griffin, who was living in Europe at the time, steals the show on "Blue 'N Boogie" and lends his talent on two more tunes. The excellent rhythm section includes bassist Arthur Harper and drummer Jimmy Lovelace.

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