Friday, October 07, 2005

Buddy Montgomery - This Rather Than That

Buddy Montgomery
This Rather Than That

impulse! AS-9192


Recorded at Universal Recording Corporation, Chicago, September 10 and 11, 1969
Produced by ED MICHEL

Side One

1. This Rather Than That (Buddy Montgomery)
2. Tin Tin Deo (Chano Pozo)
3. Rose Bud (Buddy Montgomery)
4. Stormy (B. Boni - J.R. Cobb)

Side Two

1. Willy Nilly Blues (Buddy Montgomery)
2. Beautiful Love (Victor Young - Wayne King - Egbert Val Alstyne - Haven Gillespie)
3. Didn't We (Jimmy Webb)
4. Winding Up (Buddy Montgomery)


, piano and vibes
MONK MONTGOMERY, fender bass

This is the bizarrest release i've come across on the Impulse! label yet - because it's the least bizarre, by a long way - an album of no holds barred soul jazz performed by a man who could well earn the title of "The Jimmy Smith of the Vibraphone". A suitable title for him, too, considering that his brother Wes had recorded the excellent 'Dynamic Duo' LP with Jimmy a few years before. There's also a third Montgomery brother playing jazz - Monk - who appears here on Fender Bass

I'd always thought of Impulse! as trailblazers, knocking down conventional Jazz thinking in the quest for musical purity, but this doesn't fit in with that ideal at all. Plus, this album was recorded in 1969, right at the time that Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp were making the sort of free space-jazz that attracted me to the label in the first place.

Once you get over the initial surprise, this is a surprisingly good album. The first track is really the standout. It starts off with some restrained vibes then abruptly kicks into a low down funky riff on the organ and fender bass that keeps up throughout the track. Buddy solos on top of the organ with the sort of single lines that wouldn't sound out of place on a Jimmy Smith album - or even a BB King guitar solo. 'Tin Tin Deo' is more of the same, just at a slightly slower pace, and with some great changes of tempo around the chorus sections.

Skip past the overly sentimental 'Rose Bud' and there's a lovely latin feel to 'Stormy' with some great unison lines between Buddy and Manty Ellis on guitar. 'Willy Nilly Blues' is just that - a blues - taken at a decent tempo with a great repeating rhythmic figure and some nice playing from all the soloists. 'Beautiful Love' is another ballad which comes off better than 'Rose Bud' - it's a bit less sickly sweet and has some nice organ. 'Didn't We' is an unaccompanied piano solo by Buddy that again errs on the side of gloopiness. It's worth sitting through for 'Winding Up' - another blues in the style of 'This Rather Than That' with great organ vamps throughout.

So a decent album - if you forget about the overly smooth ballads - occupying an odd position on one of Jazz's more experimental labels. Well worth a listen.

There's not much else to say about this - you can read the sleeve notes above, but the internet has little to say about this album. Perhaps if it was reissued on CD it might get more attention?

Buddy Montgomery site - with nothing about this LP - but it does feature this fine (if a little small) picture of Buddy having lunch with Percy Heath and Milt Jackson. It's like the Jazz Monkees, or something...

Buddy Montgomery at


Anonymous said...

Any chance you have an mp3 of Buddy's cover of 'Stormy'? I've been looking for this album for over a year, but to no avail. All I really want is 'Stormy' (one of my all time favorite versions of the song, with The Meters holding down second place.)


craig said...

I have in fact got this entire album on mp3, having recorded it from the vinyl. 'Stormy', now there's a great track...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response, Craig! Any chance you can make 'Stormy' available in mp3 format? :) Or maybe a trade? (although it appears you probably have a lot more records than I do, so I'm not quite sure what I can offer.)

Like I said, I've kept my eyes open for quite some time and have had no luck. Make my day, please! :)

- Mike

craig said...

Hi Mike

Send me an email and i'll see of we can sort something out...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the consideration, Craig!

Forgive my ignorance, but what is your email address? I've searched this site & viewed your profile, yet your email still eluded me.

- Mike

craig said...

Ah yes, an address would be helpful, wouldn't it?

Try drcmunro -at- mac dot com

Anonymous said...

Hi Craig,
Just wanted to let you know I sent you an email at the address you provided. Hopefully that reached you; if not, please let me know. Thanks again!

- Mike