With a lot of sleuthing and a team of experts on the case, long lost tapes of Wes Montgomery have been discovered and restored. Resonance Records will release Echoes of Indiana Avenue – the first full album of previously unheard Montgomery music in over 25 years – on March 6, 2012, which would have been Montgomery’s 88th birthday. Over a year and a half in the making, the release will provide a rare, revealing glimpse of a bona fide guitar legend. The tapes are the earliest known recordings of Montgomery as a leader, pre-dating his auspicious 1959 debut on Riverside Records. The album showcases Montgomery in performance from 1957-1958 at nightclubs in his hometown of Indianapolis, Ind., as well as rare studio recordings. The release is also beautifully packaged, containing previously unseen photographs and insightful essays by noted music writers and musicians alike, including guitarist Pat Martino and Montgomery’s brothers Buddy and Monk.
“We had no idea when we got the tapes what they were exactly,” Feldman says in a news release. “All we knew was that Wes was on them. So between 2010 and 2011, I made three trips to Indianapolis where I interviewed and discussed the recordings with scholars, musicians and friends of Wes. It was a big mystery and we had to act like gumshoes in piecing it all together. It was actually in part because of label founder and president George Klabin’s support that we were able to make this project possible.”