"Montgomery is undoubtedly one of the most important voices in Jazz guitar that has ever lived – or most likely ever will live. A discussion of Jazz guitar is simply not thorough if it does not touch upon Wes Montgomery." — Dave Miele and Dan Bielowsky, Jazz Improv Magazine, Vol. 7, No. 4
It's difficult to comprehend one guitar player having such a profound influence on any one musical genre, much less one as conspicuously diverse as jazz music. Yet in the span of just a few years in the late 1950s and early 1960s, jazz legend Wes Montgomery was able forge a body of work that is still referred to today as the most important and influential of any music ever recorded by a jazz artist. Montgomery's mastery of the guitar is well documented, and the enormous impact on his peers is recognized time and time again, from Pat Metheny to George Benson to Joe Satriani, all of whom claim Montgomery as the virtuoso who inspired them to reach new heights. Montgomery began his musical journey at the age of 19, listening to the early recordings of his idol, Charlie Christian, and learning the solos note for note. His approach to playing jazz involved the heavy use of single note lines, block chords and octaves, plucking the strings with the fleshy part of his thumb instead of using a pick. His unique style and technique would eventually become known as the "Naptown Sound."