Wes Montgomery
In The Beginning | Limited Edition Numbered Box Set

Resonance Records

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$130.00 SGD
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A TAV Essential Listening Album.

3-LP Slipcase

  • 26-track collection of newly discovered live & studio recordings from 1949-1958
  • Hand-numbered slipcase with an 8-panel booklet which includes notes by journalist, noted jazz historian & biographer Ashley Kahn, legendary producer, Quincy Jones, guitarist Pete Townshend of The Who & others
  • Audiophile 180-gram vinyl pressed on 12" LPs at 33 1/3 RPM by Record Technology Incorporated "Limited Edition pressing of 1,500"
  • Collector postcards of never-before-published photos
  • Digital Download card included with purchase of 3-LP set
  • Mastered by engineering legend, Bernie Grundman

When Echoes of Indiana Avenue came out in 2012, it had been nearly 45 years since a full album of previously unheard Wes Montgomery music had been released. Fortunately, jazz lovers don’t have to wait another half-century for more discoveries from the legendary guitarist’s past. Once again, these treasures arrive to the record-buying public via the musical archaeologists at Los Angeles-based Resonance Records.

In the Beginning features recordings of Wes Montgomery spanning the years 1949 to 1958, the formative years when the six-string virtuoso was honing his craft in Southern Indiana. Since Wes Montgomery’s passing in 1968, only two other albums of predominantly unreleased material have been released: Willow Weep for Me (Verve, 1968) and Echoes of Indiana Avenue (Resonance, 2012). Resonance Records is pleased to introduce the third such archival offering with In the Beginning.

The 26-track collection will be released on May 12, 2015 as two-CD and three-LP sets. The CD version includes a 55-page booklet of liner notes by 2015 GRAMMY® Award-winning journalist and noted jazz historian and biographer Ashley Kahn, legendary producer Quincy Jones, guitarist Pete Townshend of The Who and others, alongside rare never-before-published photos from the Montgomery Estate and friends in Montgomery’s native Indianapolis.

In the Beginning features extensive liner notes and meticulously designed artwork that have become the label’s trademarks. The booklet begins with an introduction by producer Feldman and an essay by Kahn. The package also features a reminiscence by Quincy Jones; a biography of the Montgomery-Johnson Quintet (the name at that time of the brothers’ band with the unrelated Alfonso “Pookie” Johnson and drummer Sonny Johnson) by author and journalist Bill Milkowksi; an interview with Indianapolis- based jazz photojournalist, author and historian Duncan Schiedt, conducted shortly before his death in March 2014; a contribution by Dr. Willis F. Kirk, a drummer and former bandmate of the Montgomery brothers; an interview with Indianapolis native and legendary jazz bassist Dr. Larry Ridley (who was discovered to be the previously unidentified bassist on two tracks from the 2012 release of Echoes of Indiana Avenue, “Diablo’s Dance” and “Nica’s Dream”); and lastly a contribution by fellow guitar icon and lead guitarist and songwriter for the legendary rock group the Who, Pete Townshend. Feldman adds, “I wanted someone who was “outside” the typical jazz guitar circle who admired Wes’s music. I suspected he was a fan of jazz guitar, based on the recording “To Barney Kessell” from his album Scoop, so I sent him copies of Echoes in 2012. Having him as a contributor on this project was an honor and privilege.”

In his essay, Townshend writes, “What comes across [in these recordings] is a sense of fun and discovery. There is mischief and experiment. This was a period when jazz was breaking ground on all fronts, and I hadn't realized how sophisticated a guitarist Wes was even in these early days . . . He stopped playing so flashily in the next decade, and concentrated more on atmosphere and expression his playing became loving, gentle and poetic. He became a romantic. But on these sessions he’s a young blade, rocking out, speeding sometimes, challenged by his brother Buddy on piano who could elaborate either like falling drops of water on a tin roof, or like a machine gun.”

The In the Beginning booklet features passages from Monk Montgomery’s 1980 NEA-sponsored interview with Maggie Hawthorne, along with excerpts from a never-before-released, unpublished autobiography written by Buddy Montgomery. There are recollections by Buddy, including an interview with his sister Ervena. Buddy’s estate provided a wealth of rare photographs, such as a remarkable shot of Wes Montgomery standing behind a pinball machine taken by Philip Kahl at the Turf Club.

The three-LP version is presented on 180-gram vinyl mastered by engineering legend Bernie Grundman, and pressed on 12” LPs at 33 1/3 rpm by Record Technology Incorporated (R.T.I.) in a hand-numbered slipcase with an eight-panel booklet, a digital download card and collector postcards of unpublished photos. Digitally, a “Mastered for iTunes” configuration will also be available, along with a complete digital booklet with all contents contained in the physical editions. If pre-ordered on iTunes, customers will receive four tracks instantly: “Four” (recorded at the Turf Club), “A Night in Tunisia” (recorded at the Missile Lounge), “Far Wes” (recorded for Epic Records in 1955), and “Smooth Evening” (recorded in 1949 for Spire Records).

The set is attractively designed by Burton Yount, who has collaborated with Resonance on previous releases including Wes Montgomery’s Echoes of Indiana Ave and Bill Evans’ Live at Art D’Lugoff’s Top of the Gate. This project is made possible with the help of Robert Montgomery, Wes’s youngest son and the head of the Wes Montgomery Estate, who signed on as associate producer.

In short, as Feldman says, “This is another chapter of previously undiscovered Wes, one which aficionados couldn’t have even hoped existed a few short years ago. Resonance is proud to present another chapter in the legacy of Wes Montgomery.” Finally, if it couldn't get any better for Wes Montgomery fans, Resonance has signed on with the Wes Montgomery Estate to release even more previously unissued music sometime in 2016-2017. Resonance Records is making history preserving and documenting the legacy of Wes Montgomery, even 47 years after the giant’s passing. – Press Release

“In the Beginning, released three years after Echoes, draws from a similar well of unreleased recordings, offering a heavy dose of live material along with five sides produced by Quincy Jones at Columbia Studios in 1955, plus three tracks a session at Spire Records in Fresno, California in 1949. Sequenced in rough reverse chronological order -- two live performances from November 1958 open the second disc, but the first is entirely devoted to recordings made at the Turf Club in Indianapolis in 1956, when Wes was supported by his brother Buddy on piano, Monk Montgomery on bass, Alonzo "Pookie" Johnson on tenor sax, and drummer Sonny Johnson -- the end result has Montgomery turning into a slightly straighter player as the collection rolls on, but that by no means means he sounds stiff. The 1949 cuts that wrap this up veer closer to big band than to bop, and there's a slight touch of politeness to the Jones-produced cuts. That said, it's possible to hear traces of Montgomery's fluidity here, but it's the live cuts from 1956 and 1958 that truly command attention. Here, there's a palpable hunger and playfulness to the performances that give the hard bop a kinetic kick, which means this isn't merely a worthy release from a historic standpoint, it's flat-out fun to boot.” – Allmusic


Item description:


Wes Montgomery


In The Beginning


Resonance Records


3 × Vinyl, LP, Compilation, Limited Edition, Numbered, 180 Gram



Release Date:





Hard Bop, Guitar

Catalog No: