Orrin Keepnews' commentary (from his new liner notes): "The most significant feature of the album is the uncanny rapport between the two leaders. It is difficult to believe but probably true that, although they had undoubtedly frequently heard each other's work, they had never played together. But of course they had many attitudes and attributes in common. If the blues is indeed a language, it is one in which both of these men were extremely fluent. Equally important to both was the melodic content of their music. Some otherwise admirable players do not seem to have fully grasped the important fact that to perform a ballad properly involves much more than just keeping the tempo slow. Both Bags and Wes were firmly aware of this distinction. There is an extraordinary richness and fullness to their performances here, and there is also a feeling that each man is somehow drawing something tangible from the other's performance.”
This 2-LP set from 1973 is a re-issue of material guitarist Wes Montgomery recorded in 1961, the first 8 tracks were on the “Bags Meets Wes” LP by Wes Montgomery & Milt Jackson, while the remaining 11 tracks were part of “Love Walked In” by George Shearing & The Montgomery Brothers. Players on the first album are Milt Jackson, Wynton Kelly, Sam Jones and Philly Joe Jones, while on the second we get Buddy Montgomery, George Shearing, Monk Montgomery, Walter Perkins, Armando Peraza and Richard Chimelis.
There's a bit of a role reversal going on with this one. Trumpeter Cuong Vu—a Pat Metheny devotee from the time he first heard the guitarist's Travels (ECM, 1983) as a teenager—eventually came to join the Pat Metheny Group, enhancing the sound of the band on a pair of Grammy-winning albums: Speaking Of Now (Warner Bros. 2002) and The Way Up (Nonesuch, 2005). Now Metheny returns the favor, joining Vu's crew for this expansive outing.
One of Wes Montgomery's finest recordings, a Riverside date that showcases the influential guitarist in a quintet with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Lex Humphries, and the congas of Ray Barretto…