“The greatest of us all is, unquestionably Wes Montgomery.” – Barney Kessel
Is ‘Bumpin’’ the coolest opening to an album ever? Well if it isn’t, it’s very close, as Wes Montgomery’s trademark melodic riffing creates a mood that is enhanced by Don Sebesky’s subtle string arrangements. It was on 16 March 1965 that Wes Montgomery recorded the first couple of tracks (‘Here’s That Rainy Day’ and ‘Musty’) for the album that would eventually be called Bumpin’. It’s the kind of music that gave ‘Late Night Jazz’ a good name, before it became an over-used euphemism. Montgomery, wrote three of the tracks, including the title song (along with ‘Tear It Down’ and ‘Mi Cosa’) and his choice of covers is inspired, Dizzy Gillespie’s ‘Con Alma’ and Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke’s ‘Here’s That Rainy Day’ in particular
This was Montgomery’s first album to make the Billboard chart, albeit a lowly No.116; it’s a fact that belies its brilliance. The album’s been called “serene and enchanting”, and it’s the perfect way to sum up this gem of a record.
Is it his best? Of his Verve studio albums it’s arguably a yes, but from his earlier career maybe So Much Guitar or Far Wes may be marginally better. Have you a favourite Wes Montgomery album or is it too close to call?
To help you decide check out our Wes Montgomery playlist here