Wes Montgomery

Wes Montgomery

John Leslie “Wes” Montgomery was an American jazz guitarist. He is unanimously considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others, including Pat Martino, George Benson, Emily Remler, Kenny Burrell, Pat Metheny, and Jimi Hendrix. Digitaldreamdoor named Montgomery the greatest jazz guitarist of all time. #

9 Quotes

  • I never practice my guitar — from time to time I just open the case and throw in a piece of raw meat.

  • I’ve really gone into business since I got the 6 string, which was like starting all over.

  • Playing octaves was just a coincidence. And it’s still such a challenge, like chord versions, block chords like cats play on piano. There are a lot of things that can be done with it, but each is a field of its own. I used to have headaches every time I played octaves, because it was extra strain, but the minute I’d quit I’d be all right. But now I don’t have headaches when I play octaves.

  • If a jazz player is really playing, the classical player will have to respect him.

  • To me, all guitar players can play, because I know they’re getting to where they’re at. It’s a very hard instrument to accept, because it takes years to start working with it, that’s first, and it looks like everybody else is moving on the instrument but you. Then when you find a cat that’s really playing, you always find that he’s been playing a long time, you can’t get around it.

  • I don’t know that many chords. I’d be loaded if I knew that many. But that’s not my aim. My aim is to move from one vein to the other without any trouble. The biggest thing to me is keeping a feeling, regardless what you play. So many cats lose their feeling at various times, not through the whole tune, but at various times, and it causes them to have to build up and drop down, and you can feel it.

  • A lot of places we go, when they see the organ coming in, they’re expecting rock and roll, but after they hear us play they like it. To me, guitar cuts through-it carries more than organ. But organ has got more guts.

  • Well, I got pretty good and went on the road with a group. We starved. At that time I didn’t realize that you’d work one gig in Kansas City, the next in Florida and the next gig will be in Louisville. You know, a thousand miles a night. That was really rough, man.

  • It’s impossible for me to feel like there’s only one way to do a thing. There’s nothing wrong with having one way of doing it, but I think it’s a bad habit. I believe in range. Like, there’s a lot of tunes that I play all the time-sometimes I hear ‘em in a different register. And if you don’t have complete freedom, or you won’t let yourself get away from that one straight line, oh, my goodness, that’s too horrible to even think about.

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