Ike Quebec was something like Ben Webster in his ability to play lush ballads or to scream like a smokestack when the band was cooking. After working for Roy Eldridge and Frankie Newton, Quebec became Cab Calloway's star tenor man in 1944, making everyone sit up and take notice when he wailed over Cab's band in a wonderfully raspy tone utilizing the instrument's extremities for maximum effect. Each of Quebec's sessions as a leader produced staggeringly potent records. J.C. Heard is the drummer on all 20 tracks -- check him out on "Indiana" -- and for bassists you have Milt Hinton, Grachan Moncur II, or Oscar Pettiford. While Roger Ramirez was an excellent pianist, it is a gas hearing Johnny Guarnieri on the Savoy session. Guest horn players are Buck Clayton, Keg Johnson, Jonah Jones, and Tyree Glenn. Guitarist Tiny Grimes is present on three of these dates. His "Tiny's Exercise" is one of the high points of the whole collection. The repertoire throughout is excellent. Languid blues and ballads mingle with piping-hot jam structures. Two very pleasant surprises arrive in a smoothly swung version of Fats Waller's "Blue Turning Grey Over You" and the pleasant "Girl of My Dreams," scheduled to resurface in 1959 as a streamlined vehicle driven by the Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop. With all due respect to the Mosaic label and their exhaustively compiled Ike Quebec/John Hardee box, it's good to have these Blue Note master takes together on one disc along with the magnificent Savoy All Stars session that concludes this portion of the chronology. In just a little over one year, Ike Quebec made all of these great jazz records. Each one is a knockout performance guaranteed to blow you away every time you go back and get another taste.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf