Wynton Kelly Trio / Wes Montgomery – Smokin’ at the Half Note

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Smokin’ at the Half Note is the second collaboration jazz album recorded by Wes Montgomery and the Wynton Kelly Trio and released in 1965. It was recorded live in late June 1965 at the Half Note Club in New York City, and September 22, 1965 at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The album combines guitarist Montgomery with the Miles Davis rhythm section from 1959-1963 of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb. The album’s versions of “Unit 7” and “Four on Six” have helped to establish these songs as jazz standards, and remain important references for their interpretation. This is also the second live album by Wes Montgomery (Wikipedia).

AllMusic Review by Jim Smith:
Smokin’ at the Half Note is essential listening for anyone who wants to hear why Montgomery’s dynamic live shows were considered the pinnacle of his brilliant and incredibly influential guitar playing. Pat Metheny calls this “the absolute greatest jazz guitar album ever made,” and with performances of this caliber (“Unit 7” boasts one of the greatest guitar solos ever recorded) his statement is easily validated. Montgomery never played with more drive and confidence, and he’s supported every step of the way by a genuinely smokin’ Wynton Kelly Trio. In 1998, Verve reissued the complete show on disc two of Impressions: The Verve Jazz Sides, although the scrambled track order and some non-essential cuts don’t diminish the appeal of the original album.

Track listing:
(The original LP)

No Blues” (Miles Davis) – 13:00
If You Could See Me Now” (Tadd Dameron, Carl Sigman) – 6:45
Unit 7” (Sam Jones) – 7:30
Four on Six” (Wes Montgomery) – 6:45
What’s New?” (Bob Haggart, Johnny Burke) – 6:00

Wes Montgomery – guitar
Wynton Kelly – piano
Paul Chambers – bass
Jimmy Cobb – drums

Rudy Van Gelder – engineer

Released: 1965
Recorded: 1965
Length: 40:58
Label: Verve
Producer: Creed Taylor