A Tribute to Wes Montgomery

A Tribute to Wes Montgomery, the great jazz guitarist will be remembered by two of jazz’s biggest names – Jimmy Smith on the Hammond B Organ and Mark Whitfield will be providing the guitar – sure to be a sensational night. 

Jimmy Smith took the organ from novelty status in jazz to primary instrument status, having learned to develop bass lines with his feet, chordal accompaniment and solo lines with his right hand. Born in Norristown , Pa. , on Dec. 8, 1925, Smith started out on piano at an early age, taught by his parents as well as self-taught. In 1948, he attended the Hamilton School of Music, and he attended the Ornstein School of Music from 1948-’50. In 1951, Smith began playing the Hammond organ, subsequently developing a reputation in the Philadelphia area. The year 1956 was a milestone: He was a smash in his debut at New York ‘s Cafe Bohemin. This was followed by successful appearances at Birdland and the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival, setting the stage for international acclaim as the first jazz organ star of note. The past 40-plus years, Smith has toured  internationally and recorded with many of jazz’s biggest names in a variety of contexts, from trios and quartets on up to large ensembles. Collaborating artists have included Wes Montgomery, Oliver Nelson and Kenny Burrell. When Smith moved Los Angeles , he and his wife, Lola, opened a jazz club, Jimmy Smith’s Jazz Supper Club Smith’s aggressive style of organ playing is a unique blend of bop with r&b.



Mark Whitfield graduated from Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music in 1987 where he studied composition, arranging, film scoring and conducting as well as all styles of guitar performance. Later on that year, he returned to his native New York, and immediately began his professional career. Within a few months, he had begun to perform and record with many well-known artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Smith, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Art Blakey, Jack McDuff, Betty Carter, Carmen McCrae, Dianne Reeves, Joe Williams, Cleo Laine, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard,
Stanley Turrentine, Clark Terry and many more.

As a result of the popularity awarded gained while amassing this impressive resume, Whitfield was dubbed “The Best Young Guitarist In The Business”, by The New Tork Times. In September of 1990, Warner Brothers Records released Whitfield’s debut solo recording, “The Marksman” to widespread critical acclaim and impressive sales. In the decade to follow Whitfield released two subsequent recordings for Warner Brothers, five for Polygram’s Verve Label, and two for Herbie Hancock’s ground breaking label, Transparent Music. Along the way, Whitfield’s musical interests began to expand, taking him out of the realm of traditional jazz and into collaborations with popular music superstars like D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, Take 6, The Roots, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, George Benson, B.B. King, Ashford and Simpson and the great Quincy Jones. Mark’s music has also found its way into the world of television and feature film. These projects include twelve episodes of the ABC television series “Moon Over Miami”, performing with Wynton Marsalis on the soundtrack for the film “Tune In Tomorrow”, starring Peter Falk, and for one season of NBC Television’s “Shannon’s Deal”, performing the soundtrack and making cameo appearances with Harry Belafonte and Jennifer Jason Leigh in the
Robert Altman film “Kansas City” and performing with Terence Blanchard on the soundtrack for the HBO film “The Soul of the Game”. In addition, a Whitfield original composition entitled “The Blues From Way Back” ,taken from his cd “The Marksman”, aappears on the soundtrack for the feature film “One Night Stand” starring Nastassia Kinski, Wesley Snipes and Robert Downey Jr. http://www.markwhitfield.com