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Wednesday 15 March 2017

Ike Quebec - Tenor Sax (Savoy XP 8083)

Cover shot:

Side A:
1. Girl Of My Dreams
2. Jim Dawgs

Side B:
3. Scufflin'
4. I.Q. Blues

Download from here:

This is another "reconstruction" of an original Savoy release - the 1954 EP "Tenor Sax" by Ike Quebec. I've used vinyl rips plus a cover image downloaded from the Birka Jazz archive of vintage album covers. This is a site I highly recommend for its visual feast of covers from "back in the day."

The tracks were recorded in New York on August 7th, 1945. Personnel: Ike Quebec (tenor sax); Johnny Guarnieri (piano); Bill De Arango (guitar); Milt Hinton (bass); J.C. Heard (drums).

Jim Dawgs / I.Q. Blues was released on Savoy 570 in September or October 1945.

Label shots from ebay

"Girl Of My Dreams" was first released as the B-Side of "Don't Blame Me" by Illinois Jacquet on Savoy 620 in August 1946.

"Scufflin'" was first released on this EP.

Savoy Records was founded in Newark, New Jersey in 1942 by Herman Lubinsky. A succession of first class A&R men / producers, plus the proximity of a thriving jazz club scene on New York's 52nd Street, meant that when recording sessions got properly under way in 1944, Savoy had access to top jazz musicians such as Pete Brown, Hot Lips Page, Don Byas, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Tiny Grimes, Johnny Guarnieri and Ike Quebec. Early sessions were produced by Buck Ram, with Teddy Reig joining the company in 1945 and Fred Mendelsohn and Lee Magid joining later. When Savoy expanded its operations to the West Coast they were able to recruit Ralph Bass as producer / A&R man.

The changes which jazz was undergoing in the mid 1940s were reflected in the music put out by Savoy as small group swing shifted to bebop around 1945, and saxophone driven R&B began to dominate the jukeboxes from 1947 onwards.

Ike Quebec's session for Savoy in August 1945 was a one-off as his other small group sides were recorded for Blue Note from 1944-46. "I.Q. Blues" is something of a rerun of his brilliant "Blue Harlem" which he recorded with Tiny Grimes for Blue Note in 1944.

Drug problems saw Ike's career wind down for much of the 1950s but at the close of the decade he was back with Blue Note for whom he recorded a series of classic albums including "Heavy Soul" (with Freddie Roach on organ) and "Blue And Sentimental" (with guitarist Grant Green). Ike Quebec passed away in January 1963, aged 44.

Recommended listening (if you can find it):

"A Proper Introduction To Ike Quebec - Blue Harlem" (Proper CD 2004). 22 tracks including the Savoy session plus all the Blue Note sides recorded in 1944 - 46. Issued in 2004. I managed to find a cheap copy online a couple of weeks ago.

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