In recent years, I have reviewed several records by or related to 60s jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery on this blog, the last review being that of New York guitarist Nelson Riveros‘ homage to The Latin Side of Wes Montgomery, which I published in February this year.
When I read about Nigel Price’s album WesMontgomery Reimagined, I immediately decided to order it, although I had not been acquainted with Nigel Price’s music before. Since it arrived a fortnight ago, I’ve been listening to it a lot, and with each listen I keep discovering something new.
The (impeccably pressed) vinyl version I bought is a double album set, neatly structured into four sections: Side A 1 Funk, Side A 2 Jazz, Side B 1 Latin, Side b 2 Chilled.
Nigel Price’s trio (Ross Stanley, B3 organ, Joel Barford, drums) is augmented by Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor saxophone), Tony Kofi (alto), by renowned Latin percussionist Snowboy (on five of the tracks), and even by a string section, the Phonograph Effect strings (three tracks).
It is a stunning achievement. There is nothing imitative or derivative about the record. It stands proudly on its own because the songs have been rearranged, restructured, reinvented, and the playing is superb throughout.
The songs selected are from Wes’s Riverside, Verve and A&M periods, my personal favourites being the fiery guitar – organ duel Road Song, which has morphed into a high-energy shuffle, Twisted Blues, now a boogaloo, and Jingles, turned into a samba with the help of Snowboy’s Brazilian-style percussion, complete with samba whistle and festive Rio feel.
If you’ve started looking for the first Christmas presents: this is the right gift for any discerning music fan who likes classic and/or contemporary jazz.
Nigel Price Organ Trio, Wes Reimagined (Ubuntu, LP/CD, 2021)