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Black History Month: Wes Montgomery

By Howard B. Owens
Feb 6, 2023, 9:58pm

One evening in the 1940s, a teenage Wes Montgomery went to a dance with his wife and heard a record by Charlie Christian for the first time. The next day he went out and bought his first six-string guitar.  He tried to teach himself to play guitar by listening to Christian.  By the time he was 20, he was performing in clubs in Indianapolis.  Touring through Indy, Lionel Hampton heard Montgomery and hired him to play in his band. That started his career.

Montgomery was known for playing with his thumb, helping to give him a distinctive sound, along with his use of octaves and chordal melodies.

He’s widely regarded as the greatest jazz guitarist in history, hugely influential … and he’s a joy to listen to.

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