Monk Montgomery

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Monk Montgomery
Birth name William Howard Montgomery
Born (1921-10-10)October 10, 1921
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Died May 20, 1982(1982-05-20) (aged 60)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Bassist
Instruments Bass guitar, double bass
Labels MoJazz, Chisa, Philadelphia International
Associated acts Wes Montgomery, Lionel Hampton, Cal Tjader, Red Norvo

William Howard "Monk" Montgomery (October 10, 1921 – May 20, 1982) was an American jazz bassist.


Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Montgomery was the older brother of guitarist Wes Montgomery; younger brother, Buddy Montgomery played vibraphone and piano. The brothers released a number of albums together as the Montgomery Brothers.[1] He also had an older brother, Thomas (died at 16), who played drums, and a younger sister, Ervena (Lena), who plays piano.

He is perhaps the first electric bassist of significance to jazz, introducing the Fender Precision Bass to the genre in 1951, although he was most famously seen playing the later Fender Jazz Bass, which became his signature instrument. Montgomery also played the double bass. His professional career did not start until after his younger brother Wes, at the age of 30. From 1951 to 1953 he worked in Lionel Hampton's Orchestra. Monk's recordings with The Art Farmer Septet on 2 July 1953 are some of the earliest recordings of the electric bass. Monk toured Europe with Hampton in late 1953. After that he worked with his brothers in the Montgomery-Johnson Quintet (with Alonzo "Pookie" Johnson, sax, and Robert "Sonny" Johnson, drums). In 1955 he moved to Seattle to form The Mastersounds from 1957 to 1960. Later, from 1966 to 1970, he freelanced with Cal Tjader and continued to play where he settled in Las Vegas, Nevada, with The Red Norvo Trio. In his final years he was active in the Las Vegas Jazz Society, which he founded. He had also been planning a world jazz festival.

Montgomery died of cancer in Las Vegas on May 20, 1982. He had a wife, Amelia, three sons, and four stepchildren.


Monk Montgomery[edit]

With Kenny Burrell

With Art Farmer

With Johnny Griffin

With Hampton Hawes

With Eddie Harris

With Buddy Montgomery

With The Mastersounds

  • The King And I (World-Pacific Records, 1957)[2]
  • Kismet (1958)
  • The Flower Drum Song (1958)
  • Ballads and Blues (1959)
  • The Mastersounds in Concert (1959)
  • Happy Holidays from many lands (1959)
  • The Mastersounds play Horace Silver (1960)
  • Swinging with The Mastersounds (Fantasy, 1961)
  • The Mastersounds on Tour (1961)
  • A Date with The Mastersounds (Fantasy, 1961)


External links[edit]

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