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[IAC] Arts Commission announces Wes Montgomery among Governor's Arts Award recipients
Start Date: 3/7/2016Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 3/7/2016
Entry Description

Arts Commission announces Wes Montgomery among Governor’s Arts Awards recipients     


(Indianapolis, Indiana)The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced today that legendary jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery is (posthumously) among the recipients selected for the Governor’s Arts Awards.


“The Governor’s Arts Awards recognize significant contributions to and achievement in the arts, but this year’s event will have the added notable significance of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Indiana Arts Commission and has been designated a legacy project of the Indiana Bicentennial,” said Governor Mike Pence. “This year’s recipients have contributed greatly to the cultural heritage of our great state through their creative talents and dedication. The First Lady and I look forward to honoring their achievements.”


Born in Indianapolis, Montgomery came from a musical background where brothers Monk and Buddy were both jazz musicians. But Wes Montgomery learned to play guitar at the relatively late age of 20. In spite of being unskilled at reading music, he soon developed a gift for learning complex melodies and developing riffs by ear. When offered the opportunity to perform full time, Montgomery became known for his ability to replicate intricate solos of his hero Charlie Christian note for note. It was this very ability that led to his opportunity to tour with Lionel Hampton.


While out on the road touring nationally was attractive, Montgomery opted to stay closer to home with his young family. He was a welder by trade, and took a job to bring in a steady income. He would work days at the factory and play guitar at night often sitting in with other musicians as they performed at various jazz clubs popular in Indianapolis at the time. His big break came when a visiting Cannonball Adderly stopped in to hear the locals at the Hub Bub Club and heard Wes for the first time. A follow-up call to Orin Keepnews resulted in Wes being signed to the Riverside Label. National recognition came and Wes became not only a national jazz figure, but a world renowned jazz icon.


“My father was one of those musicians that didn’t just play, he seized you and he captivated you. He could engage you with his style, playing octaves, which become his

trademark,” said Robert Montgomery. “My father was not only a brilliant mastermind and gifted musician, but he was also an amicable man whose heart was just as alluring as his music.”


Montgomery’s unique style of playing has inspired countless guitar players from Grant Green and George Benson, to Pat Metheny and Jimi Hendrix.


Governor Pence and First Lady Karen Pence, honorary chair of the Governor’s Arts Awards, and the IAC will honor the Governor’s Arts Award recipients during an awards program at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, 2016 at the Schrott Center for the Arts at Butler University.


The Indiana Arts Commission is dedicated to the vision of the arts everywhere, everyday, for everyone in Indiana.


(Editor note: photo available upon request)









Contact Information:
Name: Rex A. Van Zant
Phone: 317-232-1273
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Visiting and Playing
  • Agency Name
    Arts Commission, Indiana

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