A Day In The Life

Wes Montgomery

A & M, 1967


REVIEW BY: Max Kaplan


On a rainy night in Memphis, I decided to take a listen to Wes Montgomery’s two well-known albums A Day In The Life and Road Song. This time around, we’ll focus on A Day In The Life.

Wes Montgomery shoots from the hip. Yet his shots are more accurate than most of his peers of the time. Each note on this album, although seemingly improvised, enjoys a relationship with the song like that of a fully notated orchestral movement. Speaking of that, Wes takes a dip into the unknown with every orchestral movement in this album. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The album is a welcome mix of:

Jazz: the strain descendant of the cool-school, soul-ee, guitar haven in the sky.

Pop: The melodic swings, the hooks upon hooks without saying a word, and all while covering the Beatles—not the “I Want To Hold Your Hand” Beatles, but the “A Day In The Life” and “Eleanor Rigby” Beatles.

Classical: “Classical” doesn’t truly describe what the marvelous string arrangements throughout the album say. If anything they could perhaps be reminiscent of the Romantic era of popular music—the difference being that they’re infused with the song, rather than them being the song entirely.

As a guitarist, I would be remiss in my duty not to address Montgomery’s guitar playing in this review. The endless liveliness of the weeping guitar always at his fingers, without ever losing the tempo, Wes swings and handles breaks through ever-changing forms. He sings the pop of the era to the crowd too close to the ground to hear vocals; that’s who A Day In The Life is for.

Supported by A-list jazzmen Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter and iconic producer Creed Taylor, on A Day In The Life Wes Montgomery turns pop standards into jazz standards and makes it all sound smooth as butter.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2022 Max Kaplan and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of A & M, and is used for informational purposes only.