To mark the hundredth anniversary of the great Wes Montgomery's birth in March 1923, guitarist Mimi Fox has recorded One for Wes, an earnest tribute that consists of eight Montgomery-inspired tunes adeptly performed by Fox's San Francisco Bay-area organ trio with Brian Ho on Hammond B3 and Lorca Hart on drums.
As one might expect, there is a lot of blues, emotion and reverence in play, none of which detracts from the trio's admirable consonance and artistry. As was true of Montgomery, they set aside any distractions to concentrate on the music. Their diligence pays dividends on every number, most especially on the blues-bonded themes—"Mr. White's Blues," "Blues for Les," "Blues for Us," where Fox and her mates seem most clearly comfortable and at ease.
That is not to say they are ill at ease in other circumstances. The album's lone burner, "Pack of Lies," is performed with tasteful intensity, as are the lyrical homage to the legendary Django Reinhardt, "For Django, Avec Amor," Bobby Timmons' familiar "Moanin'" and the remaining numbers, "Judy's Song" and Fox's lovely a cappella finale, "In My Life/Old Friends."
Fox is a virtuosic guitarist, at home no matter the mood or tempo; equally important, she works snugly with Ho and Hart, perhaps owing in part to her past alliances with Joey DeFrancesco and Barbara Dennerlein, among others. Whatever the reason, Fox and her mates are simpatico on every number, and One for Wes is a special tribute to a special musician who left us far too soon.