Following up on the earlier release this year of a two-disc set of some of the early work of guitar icon Wes Montgomery, In the Beginning, next month Resonance Records will be issuing a never before released in CD format 1959 live set they are calling One Night in Indy. A 12” LP, originally intended for release last April, was released in November in conjunction with Record Store Day’s Black Friday event after some production problems.
Working with the Eddie Higgins Trio—Higgins on piano, Walter Perkins on drums and an unidentified bassist—Montgomery runs through a six-tune set beginning with an extended swinging exploration of the classic “Give Me the Simple Life.” Duke Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss” is a lyrical winner with some elegant interplay between the piano and guitar. They go back to swinging with the jazz standard “Stomping at the Savoy” and turn in a tight take of Neal Hefti’s “Li’l Darling” that shows another side of the Basie Big Band favorite. Monk’s “Ruby, My Dear” and a short look at “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” (Cole Porter) conclude the album.
In the liner notes, producer Zev Feldman describes how Resonance got a hold of the recording. Back in July of 2013, he got a call from photojournalist Duncan Schiedt, a friend whom he had worked with on the 2012 release, Echoes of Indiana Avenue. Schiedt had been involved in running the Indianapolis Jazz club, “a group of people who had a common interest in jazz,” and he had been given a 7” tape reel of the Montgomery/Higgins gig that had been passed down from IJC members in the hopes it would one day be released.
Schiedt wanted to know if Feldman had any interest. Feldman did, and although he points out that the recording was made “using primitive means,” nonetheless it was a “historic recording” that needed to see the light of day. Unfortunately, Schiedt passed away in March 2014 at age 92 but his role in this release should not be forgotten.
While the sound may not be quite up to modern standards, the music is fine. For Wes Montgomery fans, sub-standard is a term that may apply to the sound but never applies to the music, and One Night in Indy is the pudding that holds the proof.
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