Disc 1, tracks 1-8 recorded on July 1, 1959 at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey
All other tracks recorded September 25, 1960 (Disc 1, tracks 9-13 & Disc 2, tracks 1-4), February 5, 1962 (Disc 2, tracks 5-8), and February 13, 1962 (Disc 2, tracks 9-13) at Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Mastered in 24-bit.
Disc Two (tracks 5-13) issued on With a Song in My Heart (Blue Note LT-1052) in 1981
During his comeback years (1959-62) after a decade mostly off the scene, tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec recorded frequently for Blue Note. He started off with a session aimed at the 45 jukebox market and, although he eventually made a few full-length albums for the label, Quebec cut four 45 dates over a two-and-a-half-year period. This double-disc set has all of the jukebox sessions. Most of the 26 selections clock in between four and seven minutes and have long melody statements in addition to concise and soulful solos. Quebec, who was in consistently prime form during his last period, is joined by groups featuring either Skeeter Best or Willie Jones on guitar and Edwin Swanston, Sir Charles Thompson, or Earl Van Dyke on organ. Fun, loose and highly enjoyable music.
All Music Guide
========= from the cover ==========
Kemp's Bowladrome was a candlepin bowling establishment in my hometown. For a kid in his early teens, it was a place to smoke cigarettes without being hassled and pick up some pocket change setting pins (at six cents a line) in the years before automatic pinsetters. As things went, Kemp's was a modest spot: 10 lanes for bowling, three pinball machines, coke machine, candy machine, cigarette machine, and a jukebox. In the coin machine language of the day, it was a "location" on a route serviced by a coin machine operator.
Kemp's could be a place for a lot of action if the good bowlers were around and the gamblers were into it, but most of the time, in the afternoons, after school, things were slow. On some of those occasions, Lloyd, the manager, would pull a quarter spattered with red paint out of the register and play the jukebox. On other occasions, he might give one of the kids the red quarter. (The quarters were red so that when the collections were made, the red quarters would be returned to the house.)
Similar tales of kids finding a place to hang out at the tail end of the Korean War and having their first encounter with a jukebox probably happened more frequently at burger joints or soda shops. But for me, it was a bowling alley. It was also educational: I learned to love Hank Williams and Earl Bostic and hate Theresa Brewer.
The jukebox was a Seeburg. Until 1950, all jukeboxes were 78 rpm and were usually limited to 48 selections. RCA spent an unprecedented $5,000,000 in 1950 promoting the 45, but the public was confused. Record sales which should have benefited from the 45 (and the 1948 introduction, by Columbia, of the LP) had actually declined in 1949.
Seeburg made it known to their dealers that the famous "Select-O-Matic" 78 jukebox could be converted, by the company, to 45 rpm at nominal cost. The new model of 1950, the Seeburg M100B which more than doubled the old capacity, was a smash hit (more than 2,000 were sold in New York alone) and Seeburg got a big leg up on competitors such as Wurlitzer, Rockola, and AMI. The model I encountered had to have been manufactured in 1950 or 1951, because plays were a nickel each (six plays for a quarter). After 1951, each machine manufactured would be dime a play (three plays for a quarter).
Bob Weinstock, the founder of Prestige Records, once declared that jukeboxes were the fourth best way of promoting jazz records. The first three were "radio, radio, and radio." But for combo leaders, jukeboxes were important because club owners could hear how much play each leader got. The first important Blue Note 45 was BN 1630, "The Preacher"/"Doodlin"' by Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers, coincidentally the first important modern jazz group developed at Blue Note.
With the explosion of Jimmy Smith in 1956, it was clear that Blue Note 45s would be of interest to jukebox operators on a regular basis. There were no simultaneous 45/78 releases on Blue Note, so Alfred Lion filled the 45 pipeline with some items from recent sessions which had not been issued on 78rpm, but only issued one disc from his back catalog: a coupling of Edmund Hall's "Profoundly Blue" and Ike Quebec's "Blue Harlem."
"Profoundly Blue" was from the famous session involving Charlie Christian on guitar, but "Blue Harlem" was another story. The performance, recorded in 1944, is a theme-less blues with a two-chorus guitar solo by Tiny Grimes and two choruses of tenor sax by Ike Quebec, in an unusually Ben Webster-ish mood. It is timeless playing of the sort that brings a smile to those familiar with the title and a "What's that?" from those who hear it for the first time. It was a forerunner of more popular records in a similar bag such as "Long Gone" by Sonny Thompson. It was the sort of record that any bar in a black neighborhood wanted on its jukebox.
As Blue Note became more and more important to jukebox operators via the emerging stardom of Silver, Blakey, Smith, and others, a pattern emerged. Sidemen who recorded as leaders, such as Thad Jones, Paul Chambers, John Jenkins, or Clifford Jordan, usually did not merit a 45 release, and even early Lee Morgan or Hank Mobley albums did not always produce a 45 single. Lou Donaldson, whose first 45 release did not come until 1957, would become a jukebox favorite while Sonny Rollins ("Sonny Moon for Two") and John Coltrane ("Blue Train") would occasionally produce a performance perfect for jukebox play.
Horace Silver, whose output was already set at a disciplined one-album-a-year, did something unusual in 1958: a two-tune session for 45rpm release. An instrumental, "Tippin," was on one side, but the most important side was a vocal by Bill Henderson on Horace Silver's big tune, "Senor Blues." This got a ton of radio play in addition to plenty of jukebox action and Alfred Lion thought that perhaps there might be benefits to the company in developing a line of 45rpms rather than just plucking the key track of each LP.
1958 found additional sessions cut for single release by Bill Henderson (with Jimmy Smith), Bennie Green, and Sonny Clark. While these were unsuccessful, it didn't mean that Alfred Lion had given up. The organ/tenor sax combo sound was hitting a peak around this time in work by artists such as Bill Doggett and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and Blue Note didn't really have anyone working in that realm. With the thought in mind that a 45rpm session with that combination might find a waiting market with jukebox operators, he reached back for the man who created "Blue Harlem," Ike Quebec. Ike had not made any recordings for more than five years and was playing on a circuit that was substantially beneath the radar.
The music performed at the first session convinced Alfred Lion that his instincts were right: Ike could play in a soul-jazz context with creativity and conviction. The two men had remained close personal friends since the 1940s and by 1960, Ike was brought into the Blue Note fold as an A&R executive. Ike attended most Blue Note sessions and occasionally added his tenor to a tune or more at the end of the date.
He encouraged the signing of veteran musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Leo Parker, Don Wilkerson, and Fred Jackson. He began to record his own albums and those, from 1961 and 1962, are very much a part of an exceptional period in Blue Note history. The 45rpm sessions continued into 1962 and were ultimately collated into this double CD.
When Ike Quebec died in January 1963, he had completed the remarkable second act of his career. It is easy to listen to his work on Blue Note 78s and comment on its greatness, and it is just as possible to listen to his Blue Note albums and hear the quality. If you are coming to these sides for the first time, you are in for a treat.
J. Krivine, whose comprehensive industry history, Jukebox Saturday Night, provided the statistics noted above, cites 1906 as the date of the first jukebox. That is a long time ago and Ike Quebec has been gone a long time, but if you can find me a Seeburg with some Ike Quebec singles on it, I won't need a red quarter to play them.
- Bob Porter, WBGO