Wes Elevation!

Fine Friends!

Coming to you on this infinite grayscape morning where the weatherman’s repeated mantra is “June gloom”. I get tired of hearing that one and yeah, I know it rhymes and all but it’s just like rubbing salt in the wound. The potential for lack of sunlight depression disorder is running wild over here on the coast. We did make it inland over the weekend for a friend’s wedding and the sun was doing it’s thing. Elevation —it made it summer over there!

So what do you do when the weather is weighing you down? I’m finding that listening to Wes Montgomery is one surefire solution. Right now filling the airwaves is Wes’ Movin’: The Complete Verve Recordings. It’s working —dark monotone morning dissolving into unreal chord stabs, octaves, beautiful single note melodies, gorgeous tone, superb time sense, big band Oliver Nelson and Don Sebesky arrangements, pop tunes of the day with a jazz delivery, all of it, no comparison to the dreary atmospheric circus going on outdoors. 

The Verve Record era is one of my favorite setups for Wes’ long storied career and on this album I’m discovering tunes that somehow got past me in earlier years. What a joy!

Also, recently I acquired a beautiful jazz arch top guitar built by the same fellow (Andy Powers) that created my double neck guitar and it’s inspired me to explore back in time to some of the great jazz guitarists that I grew up listening to. Kenny Burrell, Tal Farlow, Wes, George Benson, Pat Martino, and Barney Kesell to name a few. The fat toned six strings never sounded better!

This week is a busy live concert sprint for me and it all starts on Tuesday evening out in the East County. Will there be sun out there? More reason to drive east! It’ll be me and my guitar playing a free one hour concert at the Rancho San Diego Library. I’ve played this venue before and if the weather is good they hold the concerts outside in a pretty courtyard. Good sound and good listening folks in attendance, it should be a fun one!

On Thursday night me and the Planet Cole Porter gang are playing a show in Del Mar at the Powerhouse Community Center. Good for us but unfortunately bad for you, it’s already sold out. So for that reason I won’t go into the details but know we’ll be riding the wave of Cole and thinking about you…

On Saturday I’ve got two shows going on. First up is our annual involvement in the San Diego Festival of the Arts held at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego. Our time slot is for 12:30 – 2pm and it’ll be Leonard and me jamming samba, swing, Beatles, and Hendrix. Come on out if you can…

Leonard and Peter
photo by Thomas Westerlin

On Saturday eve we’re going full on Beatles for a show at the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad. The San Diego Folk Heritage Society is putting the concert on and we’re calling it BeatleJazz. The angle is all Beatles music filtered through our jazz sensibilities. We’ve got Tripp on sax, Justin Grinnell on bass, Duncan on drums, and me on guitar. It’s always a good day in the sun to be immersed in the great songs of Paul and John. It’s a clean machine!

And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen
He likes to keep his fire engine clean
It’s a clean machine
— Penny Lane

Ending up this week’s concert run, on Sunday afternoon I’m playing a solo show at the Mission Trails Church in San Diego at 3pm. For years I played solo hits at the Mission Trails visitor center and then the folks that organized that series moved it nearby to this church. This will be my first time there but I’m told it’s a good scene with good sound. I’m game and I hope you are too!

Heading up!
photo by Jeff Rose

That’s it for now and all this time Wes’ music has been spinning along. Now we’re at Bumpin’ on Sunset and even though the overcast isn’t lifting, the view from here is onwards and upwards, straight ahead and strive for good tone. 

yep, P