Today, March 6, 2012, is a big Drop Day for new music on iTunes! We have a mediocre, “live” iTunes album from Paul McCartney that sounds muted and fuzzy because it was Mastered for iTunes. We have a new “Wrecking Ball” album from Springsteen that, once again, tries to prove what a great guy and a sufferer for the human condition he is — all while he counts his millions in a New Jersey mansion. John Mayer provides a new single called “Shadow Days” where he repeatedly tells us what a “good man” he really is down deep — and when anyone tells you how wonderful they are, check your wallet and run the other way!
The real watershed moment for historical new music released today is actually found in great Jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery — who died in 1968 — and who comes to us direct from the grave in the stunning, “Echoes of Indiana Avenue” released on what should have been his 88th birthday.
Here’s the PR blurp from the record company’s website explaining the magnitude and depth of the new Montgomery album:
With a lot of sleuthing and a team of experts on the case, long lost tapes of Wes Montgomery have been discovered and restored. Resonance Records will release Echoes of Indiana Avenue – the first full album of previously unheard Montgomery music in over 25 years – on March 6, 2012, which would have been Montgomery’s 88th birthday. Over a year and a half in the making, the release will provide a rare, revealing glimpse of a bona fide guitar legend. The tapes are the earliest known recordings of Montgomery as a leader, pre-dating his auspicious 1959 debut on Riverside Records. The album showcases Montgomery in performance from 1957-1958 at nightclubs in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, as well as rare studio recordings. The release is also beautifully packaged, containing previously unseen photographs and insightful essays by noted music writers and musicians alike, including guitarist Pat Martino and Montgomery’s brothers Buddy and Monk.
I have been listening to Wes all morning and the new album is crisp and clear and wonderful and the music and craftsmanship are cohesive and incredibly strong.
If you want to touch history, fire up Echoes from Indiana Avenue and hear the good, vibrating, strings of Misty and Round Midnight, and my favorite, the live-recorded “After Hours Blues” improvisation. Incredible music. Credible man. Wes Montgomery lives with us anew again.