Monk Montgomery

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Monk Montgomery
Monk Montgomery, Sweden, 1953..jpg
Monk Montgomery, in Sweden 1953
Background information
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. Wes worked in Lionel Hampton's Orchestra from 1948-1950, Monk then worked for Hampton from 1951-1953. 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 1970 he recorded in Los Angeles with African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. In 1974 he recorded his final solo album Monk Montgomery in Africa...Live! in Soweto. In 1977 he helped organise the inaugural Maseru Music Festival in Lesotho[2] which included Dizzy Gillespie, students and staff from Rutgers University and local musicians.[3] In his final years he was active in the Las Vegas Jazz Society, which he founded,[4] he also presented a local radio show. 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]

The Montgomery Brothers[edit]

The Mastersounds[edit]

  • Jazz Showcase Introducing The Mastersounds (Pacific Jazz Records, PJM 403, 1957)
  • The King And I (Pacific Jazz Records, PJM 405, 1957)[5]
  • Kismet (World Pacific, 1958)
  • The Flower Drum Song (World Pacific, 1958)
  • Ballads and Blues (Vogue Records, 1959)
  • The Mastersounds in Concert (Vogue Records, 1959)
  • Happy Holidays from many lands (World Pacific, 1959)
  • The Mastersounds play Horace Silver (World Pacific, 1960)
  • Swinging with The Mastersounds (Fantasy, 1961)
  • The Mastersounds on Tour (Fantasy, 1961)
  • A Date with The Mastersounds (Fantasy, 1961)

Buddy Montgomery[edit]

As sideman[edit]


  • Monk Montgomery - The Monk Montgomery Electric Bass Method (Studio 224, 1978)


External links[edit]