Monk Montgomery

Monk Montgomery

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William Howard "Monk" Montgomery (October 10, 1921 – May 20, 1982) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

A bass player, or bassist is a musician who plays a bass instrument such as a double bass, bass guitar, keyboard bass or a low brass instrument such as a tuba or sousaphone. Different musical genres tend to be associated with one or more of these instruments...


Born in Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...

, Montgomery was the older brother of guitarist
A guitarist is a musician who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and bass guitars. Some guitarists accompany themselves on the guitar while singing.- Versatility :The guitarist controls an extremely...

 Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
John Leslie "Wes" Montgomery was an American jazz guitarist. He is widely considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others, including Pat Martino, George Benson, Russell Malone, Emily...

; younger brother, Buddy Montgomery
Buddy Montgomery
Charles "Buddy" Montgomery was an American jazz vibraphonist and pianist. He was the youngest brother of Wes and Monk Montgomery. He and brother, Monk, formed the "Mastersounds," in the late 50's and produced ten recordings...

 played vibraphone
The vibraphone, sometimes called the vibraharp or simply the vibes, is a musical instrument in the struck idiophone subfamily of the percussion family....

 and piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

. The brothers released a number of albums together as the Montgomery Brothers
Montgomery Brothers
The Montgomery Brothers were a jazz trio consisting of the brothers Wes Montgomery , Buddy Montgomery and Monk Montgomery ....



He is perhaps the first electric bass
Bass guitar
The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

ist of significance to jazz, introducing the Fender Precision Bass
Fender Precision Bass
The Fender Precision Bass is an electric bass.Designed by Leo Fender as a prototype in 1950 and brought to market in 1951, the Precision was the first electric bass to earn widespread attention and use. A revolutionary instrument for the time, the Precision Bass has made an immeasurable impact on...

 to the genre in 1951. Montgomery also played the double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

His professional career did not start until after his younger brother Wes, at the age of 30. From 1951 to 1953 he worked in Lionel Hampton's
Lionel Hampton
Lionel Leo Hampton was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, bandleader and actor. Like Red Norvo, he was one of the first jazz vibraphone players. Hampton ranks among the great names in jazz history, having worked with a who's who of jazz musicians, from Benny Goodman and Buddy...

 Orchestra. After that he worked with his brothers and Alonzo Johnson
Alonzo Johnson
Alonzo Al Johnson is a former American college and professional football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League for two seasons during the 1980s...

 in the Montgomery Johnson Quintet. In 1955 he moved to Seattle to form the Mastersounds from 1957–1960. Later from 1966–1970, he freelanced with Cal Tjader
Cal Tjader
Callen Radcliffe Tjader, Jr. a.k.a. Cal Tjader was a Latin jazz musician, though he also explored various other jazz idioms. Unlike other American jazz musicians who experimented with the music from Cuba, the Caribbean, and Latin America, he never abandoned it, performing it until his...

 and continued to play where he settled in Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

 with The Red Norvo
Red Norvo
Red Norvo was one of jazz's early vibraphonists, known as "Mr. Swing". He helped establish the xylophone, marimba and later the vibraphone as viable jazz instruments...

 Trio. In his final years he was active in the Las Vegas Jazz Society, which he founded. He had also been planning a world jazz festival.

Montgomery died of cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 in Las Vegas on May 20, 1982. He had a wife, Amelia, three sons, and four stepchildren.


  • It's Never Too Late
    It's Never Too Late (album)
    It's Never Too Late is an album by jazz bassist Monk Montgomery, released in 1969 on Motown Records.-Track listing:#"Big Boy" – 5:44 Arranged By - Dale Frank, Wayne Henderson#"Sunday Stroll" – 2:38 Arranged By - Joe Sample...

    (1969), MoJazz
  • Bass Odyssey
    Bass Odyssey (album)
    Bass Odyssey is an album by jazz bassist Monk Montgomery, one of his three solo albums. It was released in 1971 on Motown Records/Chisa Records....

    (1971), Chisa
  • Reality
    Reality (Monk Montgomery album)
    Reality is a 1974 album by jazz bassist Monk Montgomery, one of his three solo albums. It was released on Philadelphia International Records.-Track listing:#"Reality" – 5:39#"Me And Mrs...

    (1974), Philadelphia International

External links