|Birth name||William Howard Montgomery|
October 10, 1921|
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||May 20, 1982
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
|Instruments||Bass guitar, double bass|
|Labels||MoJazz, Chisa, Philadelphia International|
|Associated acts||Wes Montgomery, Lionel Hampton, Cal Tjader, Red Norvo|
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. 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 is 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. After that he worked with his brothers and Alonzo Johnson in the Montgomery Johnson Quintet. In 1955 he moved to Seattle to form the Mastersounds from 1957–1960. Later from 1966–1970, 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.
- It's Never Too Late (1969), MoJazz
- Bass Odyssey (1971), Chisa
- Reality (1974), Philadelphia International
- Monk Montgomery in Africa...Live! (1974), Philadelphia International
With Kenny Burrell
- Ellington Is Forever Volume Two (Fantasy, 1975)
With Art Farmer
- The Art Farmer Septet Prestige, 1953–54)
With Johnny Griffin
- Do Nothing 'til You Hear from Me (Riverside, 1963)
With Eddie Harris
- Silver Cycles (Atlantic, 1968)
With Buddy Montgomery
- This Rather Than That (Impulse!, 1969)
- "William (Monk) Montgomery, Bass Player With Hampton". The New York Times. May 22, 1982. Retrieved on May 5, 2008.