Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)

The music on this newly discovered CD seeks to build on the success of this group’s 1965 LP, Smokin’ at the Half Note—a disc that Pat Metheny called “the absolute greatest guitar album ever made”—and is aimed at completists who want as much pre-pop star Wes Montgomery as possible. The two sets on Smokin’ in Seattle were aired a week apart on a Seattle radio station that broadcast 30 minutes of music from the Penthouse, a downtown jazz club. Ex-Miles Davis group pianist Wynton Kelly, accompanied by bassist Ron McClure and drummer Jimmy Cobb (another Davis veteran), is a real treat on tunes like “There Is No Greater Love” and “If You Could See Me Now.” Guitarist Montgomery joins on such emotive tracks as “What’s New” and the rollicking “Oleo,”—both of which feature his single-note playing, along with the octave runs he was famous for having “invented”—and livens up tunes like his “West Coast Blues” and Jobim’s peppy bossa nova “O Morro Não Tem Vez.”