Although this is billed to Wes Montgomery, it is in fact a combination of two early-'60s LPs by the Montgomery Brothers – The Montgomery Brothers and The Montgomery Brothers in Canada – onto one disc. (Also note that it's almost entirely different from the Montgomery Brothers' Milestone double LP that also bears the name Groove Brothers, which mostly features material from their Riverside LP Groove Yard.) With Wes on guitar, Monk on bass, and Buddy on piano (Larance Marable fills out the quartet on drums), The Montgomery Brothers (1960) is a boppish set of five lengthy tracks, divided between both originals (penned by either Wes or Buddy) and standards. "June in January" is a particularly good vehicle for Wes' fluid single-note runs, while "D-Natural Blues" is one of his more enduring and good-natured compositions from the period. Buddy Montgomery, who often played the piano with the Montgomery Brothers, sticks exclusively to vibes on The Montgomery Brothers in Canada, which in addition to Wes and Monk has Paul Humphrey on drums.
Jerry Gonzalez has referred to himself as being "bilingual" in that he is equally skilled on trumpet and congas, in bebop and in Latin music. Gonzalez succeeds in his goal of combining the two idioms without watering down either style on this essential Sunnyside CD. The first Afro-Cuban Thelonious Monk tribute has plenty of spots for the percussion of Steve Berrios and Gonzalez, but also contains many strong solos from the leader's often-muted Miles-influenced trumpet, Carter Jefferson's tenor, and Larry Willis' very un-Monk-like piano. With the exception of "Ugly Beauty," the Latin percussion is an integral part of each performance, giving this set of Monk tunes a very different perspective that is also quite flexible. A highly enjoyable set with the highlights including "Bye-Ya," "Nutty," "Little Rootie Tootie," and "Jackie-ing."