“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…

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Comments (8)

trueballs March 16th at 2:52pm

The Incredible Jazz Guitar is probably my favorite. Barney Kessel said it best

Patrick Floyd March 16th at 6:05pm

Bumpin' is in my top three favorite jazz albums ever, along with Coltrane's My favorite things and Miles' In a silent way. Bumpin' is hands down my favorite track from Wes. I have it on vinyl, nothing sounds better.

Jazzbuff March 16th at 7:17pm

My favorite Wes albums are: Moving Wes - (the best guitar version of Caravan I've every heard.) Smoking at the Half Note and the Dynamic Duo - Wes. & Jimmy Smith.

I was fortunate to have heard Wes in person numerous times. Wes did "impossible" stuff on the guitar in person. He was in a league all my himself!

All of his stuff is good.

Jazzbuff March 16th at 7:21pm

jazzlabels March 16th at 8:34pm


Darrell March 17th at 1:25am

According to the Verve CD reissue, recording began on MAY 16 and not MARCH 16. Which is it?

jazzlabels March 17th at 6:49am

Hi Darrell, it's March 16th according to all the discographies. Looks like someone in writing the notes read MAR as MAY.

Wes Montgomery With Don Sebesky Orchestra
Arnold Eidus, Lewis Eley, Paul Gershman, Louis Haber, Julius Held, Harry Lookofsky, Jos Malignaggi, Gene Orloff, Sol Shapiro (violin) Harold Coletta, Dave Schwartz (viola) Charles McCracken, George Ricci (cello) Margaret Ross (harp) Roger Kellaway (piano) Wes Montgomery (guitar) Bob Cranshaw (bass) Grady Tate (drums) Candido (bongos, congas) Don Sebesky (arranger, conductor)

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, March 16, 1965

65VK307 Musty Verve V/V6 8625, 2V6S 8813, V3HB 8839
65VK308 Just Walkin' Verve V6 8804, 314 539 062-2
- Just Walkin' (alt. take) Verve 314 539 062-2
65VK309 Here's That Rainy Day Verve V/V6 8625, 2V6S 8813, V3HB 8839

robertm2000 January 27th at 6:51pm

ANYTHING that Wes recorded is fantastic! I happen to like well-arranged and performed orchestral music, coming from a classical music background, so the work of Don Sebeskey is well-known to me, and to hear Wes atop that lovely orchestral backing is nothing short of marvelous. Some of the Creed Taylor things are a bit much, but I can enjoy anything Wes did, even the things with big orchestra, simply because Wes Montgomery was a musical genius.

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