Posts tagged ‘jazz’

Smokin’ at the Penthouse

Wes Montgomery / Wynton Kelly Trio


Montgomery died in 1968.WesM

Wynton Kelly died in 1971.

The Penthouse (in Seattle’s Pioneer Square) was demolished in 1968.

A parking lot took its place.

Talk about paving paradise.

John Coltrane’s performance in September of ‘65 was a watershed for the club which is also remembered for shows by the likes of Bill Evans, Miles Davis, and Stan Getz.

Which brings us to John Leslie “Wes” Montgomery, an icon in jazz guitar who followed in the footsteps of Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian.

Montgomery with his unique technique of using the side of his thumb to pluck the strings became an influence on many succeeding guitarists. In fact, his influence could be said to have spawned the genres of fusion and smooth jazz.

PenthouseMontgomery had two noteworthy performances at the Penthouse in April of 1966 along with the Wynton Kelly Trio.

Fortunately for jazz aficionados, and music lovers everywhere, these performances were recorded on tape.

Smokin’ at the Penthouse was released in May of 2017 and is available on both CD and in digital format.

Modern day jazz guitar icon Pat Metheny writes, “The news that another example of that band in action had surfaced was headline news for those of us in the hard-core Wes community. The incredible revelations contained in Resonance’s previous releases of Wes’s early work have been thrilling. This release adds yet another dimension to the almost impossibly brief ten years that Wes was the jazz world’s most renowned guitarist, particularly to completists like me who want to hang on to and cherish every note Wes played.”

This 10-track album is indeed a “smokin’” musical exchange between Wynton and Wes,SmokinAtthePenthouse swinging with fire-cracker energy. The Wynton Kelly trio opened each set of the 9-night engagement with a couple of tunes before Wes joined them on stage. The album opens with “There Is No Greater Love,” an upbeat rendition of Isham Jones’s well known jazz standard. Wynton glides through seven choruses filled with his trademark lyrical legato lines, with bluesy twists and turns along the way. His joyous playing is apparent from the start. In an interview with Kenny Baron included in the liner notes, he says, “Wynton was kind of in a class by himself. His touch, his feeling, his sense of time, sense of rhythm… For me it was just very, very unique.” Often underappreciated as a player, despite his years with Miles Davis, Wynton remains an iconic figure, for jazz fans and next generation of jazz players.

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Music Review: NYC Sessions–Dave Bass

DaveBassCVR Pianist/Composer  Dave Bass  is back, and his new CD, NYC Sessions, so captured my attention, that I must return to my writing roots.  My first writing gig was with and I reviewed Mr. Bass’s now critically acclaimed CD, Gone.

Fortunately, Bass didn’t go far, and certainly not away.

The music world, and especially jazz aficionados, are much better off for his return to the recording studio.

His latest project, NYC Sessions, released in February 2015 and has hit the top five on jazz charts already(March 2015).

Dave’s compositional skills have blossomed with this project both in his writing and his selection of musicians to compose his ensemble.

Joining our lawyer-pianist friend are: Harvie S on acoustic bass, Ignacio Berroa on drums, Phil Woods on alto sax, Conrad Herwig and Chris Washburne on trombone, Enrique Fernandez on flute, and Carlos Caro on conga and percussion. Vocalists Karrin Allyson and Paulette McWilliams breathe life into four of the tracks on NYC Sessions (two of which were on Gone as instrumentals.)

NYC Sessions opens with “The Sixties,” a Bass composition that not only documents the composer’s mastery of straight-up jazz/bebop, but sets the tone for the other ten tracks. Bass wrote all but three of the tracks for this project and presents an expansive repertoire of styles and perspectives. “Lost Mambo” follows with a strong Latin influence that gives way to the moody “Endless Waltz” and Allyson’s first vocal appearance (she makes scat work even in a emotional ballad.)

Listeners will compare NYC Sessions to a novel you cannot put down. Once into the third track, you’re hooked and can’t stop. My first listen to this CD was in my truck on the way to work. I missed my exit and was late, but I heard the last track, “Just a Fool” as I was parking.


Don’t miss this supporting video, EPK Promo video, and interviews with not only Dave Bass, but many of the ensemble as well.

My only disappointment with NYC Sessions is the inclusion of only eleven tracks. Surely this bound-to-be-a-crossover hit will lay the groundwork for a follow-up recording. It was good enough to entice me to write about music again.

Get your copy today directly from Dave at or from Amazon or iTunes.

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