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--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: Wes Montgomery/Your Folks
Category: Inspiration
From: Jim  Kelly (chicago)

Pat, Hi, I read once where you said you'd met Wes Montgomery (whom I've become a big fan of thanks to you) And I was wondering what that expierence was like and also I was curious of what you folks thought of your work?

Pat’s Answer:

i did meet wes montgomery. it was april, 1968, just a few months before he would leave us. i would have been 13 years old, and i had been playing for just about a year. i remember the concert vividly - it was the kansas city jazz festival, held in the old muncipal auditorium and wes was the headliner for the whole thing. he was playing with his brothers and billy hart was the drummer. the playing was absolutely stunning. because i was a little kid, they let some of us come and sit on the floor right in front of the stage. it was unreal - wes was playing his L-5 with the pickguard off and the pearl heart inlay. they were playing a lot of the songs from the "verve" period - like "going out of my head" and stuff, but really stretching out on them. the main impression i have of the music was that he made it all look so easy - he was almost offhand the was he played physically - the instrument was sort of a non-issue for him, the music was just kind of flowing out.

i went (snuck) backstage afterwards. wes was standing there talking to clark terry, holding his guitar by the neck with the body resting on his shoe while he talked to clark. i had the impression that he was glowing, like his guitar, with this golden light around him, also like the gold stuff on his hip looking L-5. i finally got the nerve to get his autograph and he was so nice to me and my friend, really made us feel great. i still have the autograph, which my mom mounted on a piece of wood a varnished over it, cause she knew i was so into wes.

then, like now, my folks have always been fans of music. they were worried at first that i was going to try to be a musician, since it is a hard road - but in the end, they kind of saw that they had no choice in the matter anyway! they are great!