Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ike Quebec - Blue and Sentimental


Ike Quebec's 1961-1962 comeback albums for Blue Note were all pretty rewarding, but Blue and Sentimental is his signature statement of the bunch, a superbly sensuous blend of lusty blues swagger and achingly romantic ballads. True, there's no shortage of that on Quebec's other Blue Note dates, but Blue and Sentimental is the most exquisitely perfected. Quebec was a master of mood and atmosphere, and the well-paced program here sustains his smoky, late-night magic with the greatest consistency of tone. Part of the reason is that Quebec's caressing tenor sound is given a sparer backing than usual, with no pianist among the quartet of guitarist Grant Green, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. It's no surprise that Green solos with tremendous taste and elegance (the two also teamed up on Green's similarly excellent Born to Be Blue), and there are plenty of open spaces in the ensemble for Quebec to shine through. His rendition of the Count Basie-associated title cut is a classic, and the other standard on the original LP, "Don't Take Your Love From Me," is in a similarly melancholy vein. Green contributes a classic-style blues in "Blues for Charlie," and Quebec's two originals, "Minor Impulse" and "Like," have more complex chord changes but swing low and easy. Through it all, Quebec remains the quintessential seducer, striking just the right balance between sophistication and earthiness, confidence and vulnerability, joy and longing. It's enough to make Blue and Sentimental a quiet, sorely underrated masterpiece. (The CD reissue adds three bonus cuts, all standards, which fit the program very nicely indeed.) - by Steve Huey, AMG

This is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Ike's tone, breathy yet virile, is set against the unusually spare backing of guitar, bass and drums, and to stunning effect. The recording quality is spectacular (as it was on vinyl), and if you close your eyes the musicians are in the room with you. Grant Green's guitar work is relaxed, perfectly judged, and never competes for space. I much prefer this line-up to the organ-based arrangements of some of his other recordings. Apparently his story is one tragically familiar in jazz, dying young and leaving too little. In one sense this album defines saxophone jazz, in another it transcends genre. It's purely *music*, lyrical, sad, and occasionally full of lively spirit. It's been a personal favourite of mine for many years, and I frequently find myself humming his solos, and hearing that unique tone in my head. In fact, I'm going to stop writing this and listen to it again. This is music that will last you your lifetime. - by Ampar, Amazon.com

Artist: Ike Quebec
Album: Blue and Sentimental
Year: 1961
Label: Blue Note (1988)
Runtime: 50:33

Tracks:
1.  Blue and Sentimental (Count Basie/Mack David/Jerry Livingston) 7:29
2.  Minor Impulse (Ike Quebec) 6:35
3.  Don't Take Your Love from Me (Henry Nemo) 7:04
4.  Blues for Charlie (Grant Green) 6:49
5.  Like (Ike Quebec) 5:21
6.  That Old Black Magic (Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer) 4:53
7.  It's All Right With Me (Cole Porter) 6:05
8.  Count Every Star (Bruno Coquatrix/Sammy Gallop) 6:17
 
Personnel:
Ike Quebec (Tenor Saxophone)
Grant Green (Guitar)
Paul Chambers (Double Bass)
Philly Joe Jones (Drums)

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