The idea of lost or forgotten recordings has long been a grail-like quest for record geeks everywhere. Knowing there to be archival recordings of performers captured in their prime hiding in some basement or warehouse is the aural equivalent of treasure hunting. While not every discovery proves to be a priceless artifact along the lines of the recently uncovered Coltrane/Monk live recordings released a decade or so ago, each new discovery helps further flesh out an artist’s story. In this same spirit, Resonance Records here presents a newly uncovered live recording featuring jazz guitar great Wes Montgomery and pianist Eddie Higgins and his trio.
Recorded in Indianapolis in January of 1959, the set features the quartet running through a series of standards with aplomb. With the performance having been recorded around the time Montgomery was rising to prominence as a leader, these recordings feature the guitarist in fine form. But what’s perhaps most inspiring is Higgins’ playing throughout as he wends in and out of Montgomery’s immaculately stated lines. From opening track “Give Me the Simple Life” on, Higgins threatens to steal the show. Hearing these two giants together, while not quite at the level of Coltrane and Monk, is nonetheless a thrillingly enjoyable spectacle.