John Leslie Montgomery, 6 March 1923, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, d. 15 June 1968, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Montgomery was inspired to take up the guitar after hearing records by Charlie Christian. Nearly 20 years old at the time, he taught himself to play by adapting what he heard on records to what he could accomplish himself. Guided in part by Christians example, but also by the need to find a way of playing that did not alienate his neighbours, he evolved a uniquely quiet style. Using the soft part of his thumb instead of a plectrum or the fingers, and playing the melody line simultaneously in two registers, Montgomery was already a distinctive stylist by the time he began to work with local bands. In 1948 he joined Lionel Hampton, touring and recording.
In the early 50s Montgomery returned to Indianapolis and began playing with his brothers Buddy and Monk Montgomery in the Montgomery-Johnson Quintet (the other members being...
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