Many times, we overlook and we miss some great voices and artists in all music genres. When that happens, it’s a mixed feeling. On one hand, we’re glad for the discovery. On the other, we feel sorry for the musician who never got recognition during his life, and only thanks to the internet and the world getting smaller – he get the respect he deserves. Ike Quebec is a good example for that.
Ike Quebec was a saxophonist who functioned as a side man in the 40’s and was raised in the Ben Webster/Coleman Hawkins school of playing, in many big bands.
But he never managed to cross the big gap and become famous as a band leader, and never recorded under his name, until the late 50’s when he started releasing some 45’s for Blue Note. And even then, he wasn’t recognized for his abilities and his deep, rich tenor sound.
All that somehow changed in 1962 when he recorded his LP Heavy Soul.
Still, even after this extraordinary album, poor old Ike would not fit in any ‘best of’ listes. That’s mainly because he didn’t live much longer then mid 60’s and died in 1965. But Heavy Soul, along with the album he recorded only two weeks later – It Might As Well Be Spring are fabulous recordings that you should really pay attention too if you’re a jazz fan. These two albums surly rescued him from total obscurity and thank god for that.
Soul is a classic late night album. Smokey, slow that fits in a dark jazz basement in NYC. Good and warm chill-out vibe with moments of Exotica and mainly lots of blues and such melancholy of a person who saw it all and didn’t make the big leap forward. In many aspects, Quebec is a big miss.
The special color of the album, is supplied by the organist Freddie Roach, which gives this album a different feel, it’s slow and breezy and sexy, and the gentle melodies produced by Ike’s sax, puts this album in the category of ‘music to take off your shoes after a day of work while sitting on the sofa and chillin’. That’s a long name for a category.
But it’s like that. It’s great with a shot of Whiskey and it’s great to turn off your mind and it’s simply great. Above the album as a whole, there are some particular moments, worth to pay attention to. Like the interplay between Quebec and Roach on Nature Boy or the totally unrelated to the rest of the album, yet fantastic in its energy, bonus track Blues For Ike which is a hard bop piece, fast and furious.
And back to the slow melancholy, if you’re into the Chet Baker vibe or you’re a fan of Coltrane’s Ballads album or getting your kicks by Bill Evans’ Moon Beams – you should get to know Heavy Soul, it’s much better then Advil.