More Wes Montgomery
More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Guitar
- Incredible Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides, this early stereo copy blew the competition away with its size, Tubey Magical richness and vibrant jazz energy
- Once again Oliver Nelson’s Big Band arrangements take the music to another level – the guy’s a genius
- “…it’s a classic big-band album, with smart charts by Nelson and stolen moments of Montgomery’s guitar grandeur and romantic truth scattered throughout.”
This White Hot Stamper Shootout Winner has the REAL Wes Montgomery/ Oliver Nelson / Creed Taylor/ Rudy Van Gelder MAGIC in its grooves. You will not believe how big, rich and full-bodied this pressing is on both sides. Since this is one of Wes’s better albums, hearing these sides was a THRILL for us and we’re hoping it will be as big a thrill for you too.
Everything that’s good about this era of RVG’s recordings, Wes’s music and those glorious Oliver Nelson arrangements is here. For my part let me just say that this is clearly the best sound I have ever heard for Goin’ Out of My Head.
It’s BIGGER, richer, more immediate, more present and dramatically more Tubey Magical than the other copies we played, yet there is no sacrifice in transparency or clarity. This is tube mastering at its finest. Not many vintage tube-mastered records manage to balance all the sonic elements as correctly as this copy did.
And if you own any modern Heavy Vinyl reissue, we would love for you to be able to appreciate all the musical information that you’ve unknowingly been missing. Speakers Corner remastered some Montgomery titles in the 2000s if memory serves, and they were passable at best. Any copy we offer on our site will be dramatically better sounding.
What outstanding sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1966
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack the full complement of harmonic information.
In addition, when the top end is lacking, the upper midrange and high frequencies get jammed together — the highs can’t extend up and away from the upper mids. This causes a number of much-too-common problems that we hear in the upper midrange of many of the records we play: congestion, hardness, harshness and squawk. (Painstaking VTA adjustment is absolutely critical if you want your records to play with the least amount of these problems, a subject we discuss in the Commentary section of the site at length.)
Tube smear is common to most pressings from the ’50s and ’60s. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have little or none, yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
Full-bodied sound is especially critical to the horns; any blare, leanness or squawk ruins at least some of the fun, certainly at the louder levels the record should be playing at.
What do the best Hot Stamper pressings give you?
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitar notes, not the smear and thickness so common to most LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The guitar isn’t back there somewhere, lost in the mix. It’s front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put it.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper pressing.
Phil Woods – alto sax and clarinet
Ernie Royal – trumpet
Joe Newman – trumpet
Donald Byrd – trumpet
Herbie Hancock – piano
Roger Kellaway – piano
George Duvivier – bass
Grady Tate – drums
Oliver Nelson – arranger, conductor
(There were quite a few more than this; I only left in the names I recognized.)
The Mono LP
Never heard a good one. We stopped buying them years ago.
The Gold CD
Steve Hoffman remastered this album on DCC Gold CD and vinyl. I remember liking the Gold CD somewhat, but I seriously doubt the DCC vinyl is as good; it almost never is. Neither will ever sound remotely as good as one of our Hot Stampers, but you can be sure the CD will sound better than the average Verve disc, because the average Verve disc is a mess.
Goin’ Out of My Head
O Morro (Não Tem Vez)
Chim Chim Cheree
The End of a Love Affair
It Was a Very Good Year
Jazz writer Josef Woodard called the release “Commercial firepower and Grammy-winning accessibility notwithstanding, it’s a classic big-band album, with smart charts by Nelson and stolen moments of Montgomery’s guitar grandeur and romantic truth scattered throughout. The title track that made so much commercial and critical noise is all of 2:12 in duration, but the album also features plenty of jazz fiber…”
Goin’ Out of My Head is the fifteenth album by American jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, arranged and conducted by Oliver Nelson, it was released in 1966. It reached number 7 on the Billboard R&B chart. At the 9th Grammy Awards Goin’ Out of My Head won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group.
Goin’ Out of My Head was Montgomery’s first album with sales reaching near one million. It was producer Creed Taylor’s idea that Montgomery should do a cover of the title song, a 1964 hit by Little Anthony and the Imperials. At the time Taylor brought the song to Montgomery, he was playing at the Half Note Club in New York City with the Wynton Kelly Trio—sessions that appeared on his acclaimed 1965 release Smokin’ at the Half Note.
Taylor said in a later interview: “If you take away the R&B performance and just look at that song, it’s an absolutely marvelous song to improvise on. For that time, it had sophisticated changes and the whole structure was great. I was thinking, ‘This would be perfect for Wes Montgomery. But how am I going to overcome the fact that here’s Wes and his background? He’d be about the last person to listen to Little Anthony and the Imperials.'”