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Watch the Minor Wes online guitar lesson by David Hamburger from 50 Jazz-Blues Licks You MUST Know

I had the great fortune to take a handful of lessons with Emily Remler when I first moved to New York, and while I’d been listening to Wes Montgomery for a couple of years at that point, the way Remler broke down and explained some of Wes’ key approaches to the changes was consistently revelatory. And I have fond memories of her reaction at my second lesson to the way I played some of the excercises she’d given me a couple of weeks earlier, despite the fact that both ends of her excitement were highly hyperbolic: "Yeah! Yeah! Last week you sounded like B.B. and now you sound like Wes!" As I say, I clearly sounded about as much like Montgomery at that moment as I’d sounded like the king of the blues a fortnight ago, but if nothing else it actually spoke volumes to Emily's own ability to break down and explain some of the most significant aspects of how Wes did his thing.

For my money Wes is still the guy to go to for some of the most consistently hip, swinging and thoroughly well-organized blowing by a guitarist or anyone else. For whatever reason, he didn’t lay back into the standard blues vocabulary to the extent of a Kenny Burrell or Grant Green, and yet his playing feels every bit as deep and swings ridiculously hard with inventive ideas from one end to the other.