He has the family name of a legend, but while his uncle's legacy is not lost on him, Miko Montgomery is carving his own unique path. The nephew of the late Wes Montgomery
, he is similarly on jazz's cutting edge. His latest album, Cryptic Roots
, finds itself on the genre's fringes, incorporating electronica, New Age, Goth, and folk music with the wild, wide-eyed vision of his keyboards. Equally influenced by synthetic pulse of Yellow Magic Orchestra
, the funk kicks of James Brown
, and the edgy innovations of Thelonious Monk
, Montgomery wallops barriers as his imagination rockets into jazz's outer limits.
The first cut on the record, Kiss of the Damned," could be viewed as a warning or as bait depending on how adventurous the listener is. While the track is not as gloomy as its title suggests, it is a ghostly number. Montgomery wrote the piece for a vampire flick that he wanted to produce himself. It is certainly spooky enough for a Halloween soundtrack, but it is also playful in its dance with the dark. Beyond that, Montgomery never stops exploring; there is an inquisitive mind at work here, one that is focused on experimentation. AfroCeltic" is among Montgomery's oddest yet accessible hybrids, a dynamite collision of Irish folk music and jazz fusion.
In addition to his album, Montgomery has also written and self-published a novel, Raven Diablo: Agent of Kali
. The book stars a super-heroine who has no qualms about killing evildoers. Set in Las Vegas, Montgomery combines the shadowy grit of Batman's most hardcore adventures with the ominous pull of horror fiction.