By Christopher Scapelliti
For fans of Wes Montgomery, the years between 1950 and 1957 have been marked almost entirely by silence. Apart from one 1955 session produced by Quincy Jones, the guitarist recorded nothing in those years, between the time he left vibraphonist Lionel Hampton’s orchestra, in January 1950, until he began recording with his brothers Monk and Buddy and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard in December 1957.
In that respect, a new box set from Resonance Records will be a revelation. Titled In the Beginning, the new 26-track collection will include previously unreleased live and studio recordings from 1949 to 1958. Among the treasures are songs from the 1955 Quincy Jones-produced session as well as live recordings captured on a portable tape recorder from Montgomery’s performances in clubs around his native Indianapolis after he left Hampton’s orchestra.
This live recording of “A Night in Tunisia,” one of those tracks included on In the Beginning, comes from Montgomery’s performance at the Missile Lounge, in Indianapolis, on November 22, 1958. It’s a guitar take on the Dizzy Gillespie tune and features Wes’s brother Monk on bass, Richie Crabtree on piano and Paul Parker on drums.
In the Beginning comes out May 12. For more information, and to preorder, visit Resonance Records. A video about the release follows below the link for “A Night in Tunisia.”