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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'The Latin Side of Wes Montgomery'
Artist - Nelson Riveros

For those unaware, The Latin Side of Wes Montgomery (out February 5th, 2021 via Zoho Music) is a triumphant tribute album that has been made by one master in honor and celebration of another.

Nelson Riveros is an acclaimed guitarist and composer who embodies the very idea of cultural fusion. Born in New York to Colombian parents, Riveros grew up learning about the music and cultures of the Americas.

A few years ago, after playing a gig that involved performing songs in Wes Montgomery's vaunted repertoire, Riveros had the idea of reimaging the legendary guitarist's music in a Latin American style: "I started to hear all kind of rhythms, bass lines, and melodic variations to some of his tunes," Nelson reveals.

"The next day, I started writing arrangements, and this very project began to take shape," he adds. In making this terrific album, naturally Riveros wanted to collaborate with the very best musicians and so he did just that.

He partnered with Hector Martignon (piano), a two-time Grammy nominee; Mark Walker (drums); Andy McKee (bass); Jonathan Gomez (percussion) and so throughout the album, we can hear the band playing together as one, channeling the fluidness and virtuosity you will find on most if not all Wes Montgomery recordings.

1. 'Road Song'
2. 'Tear It Down'
3. 'Four On Six'
4. 'Wes' Tune'
5. 'Nelson's Groove'
6. 'West Coast Blues'
7. 'Jingles'
8. 'Facing Wes'
9. 'Leila'

The Latin-imbued 'Road Song' opens the album and is backed by a track from Montgomery's 1965 album Bumpin', the totally swinging 'Tear It Down' (here redone as a Brazilian Samba), and then we get one of Riverosí favorite songs of all time, the exquisite groove collage known as 'Four On Six.'

Next up is a rendition of 'Wes' Tune' from 1958's Far Wes, which has now been rearranged as a slower Colombian porro, and that's backed by 'Nelsonís Groove,' an original composition inspired by 'Wesí Tune,' which is itself followed by 'West Coast Blues' (from the 1960's The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery album).

Then we get one of my own personal favorites here, the brisk tempo-infused 'Jingles' (from 1959's The Dynamic New Sound, by the Wes Montgomery Trio), and that's backed by the Montgomery-inspired, Riveros original 'Facing Wes' (which is set in 7/4 with a section in 5 and yet most certainly feels like the blues), with the album coming to a close on 'Leila' (a capstone number that also comes from the 1958 Far Wes album, and on which Riveros performs it as a solo arrangement on his nylon string guitar).

To be quite frank, I'd like to bet that you've never heard Wes Montgomery's music like this before. Master guitarist Nelson Riveros reimagines many of the legendary guitarist's pieces with a Latin aesthetic. Not only does this music swing, but it's syncopated, accented by percussion from the Americas.

In short, Riveros has given us something wholly unique and musically exceptional and for that alone, this album deserves to be lauded amongst those who simply love music of all genres as much as we do.

Amazon Purchase Link

Nelson Riveros @ Facebook