A willing queue of internationally noted guitarists have contributed readily to this 100th birthday tribute to the acclaimed jazz guitar maestro Ike Isaacs. Born in Rangoon, Burma, in 1919, Ike eventually settled in the UK in 1946. Showing exceptional technical proficiency, he was in constant demand for freelance radio and studio sessions over the years, working with Ted Heath, the BBC Showband and prominently with his quartet on the BBC weekly Guitar Club. In the 70s he toured worldwide with Stephan Grappelli. Ike moved to Australia in 1981, welcomed by the jazz fraternity there. He died in Sidney in 1996.
Blessed with a virtuoso technique, which featured innovative richly chorded lyrical passages, with ingenious contrapuntal developments, Ike’s recordings and tuition became highly influential with emerging jazz guitarists. He became a friend and mentor to several of the talented musicians featured on this album, notably the outstanding Martin Taylor, whose bright opening version of an Isaac’s original, After Hours, sets a high standard which is in general maintained throughout and would surely have pleased the benevolent great man himself.
Each track features a different guest contributor. Most of the tracks are laidback solo or duet ballads, many of them time-honoured standards, with Dawgmatism particularly enjoyable amongst the originals. Abandoning the guitar (on just one of two such tracks), Out Of Rangoon, an original dedicated to Ike, features a quartet with Harry Allen’s lyrical, tight-toned tenor. The final track is by Isaacs himself, Starlight, an original from his 1991 CD album Intimate Interpretations. This tribute album was produced by composer Roger Frankham with notes by Ike’s nephew, composer and pianist Mark Isaacs.
We Like Ike is available here on CD and on major download and streaming services
(1) After Hours; (2) The Gentle Rain; (3) Round Midnight; (4) I Remember You; (5) Stardust; (6) When Lights Are Low; (7) Acai Skies; (8) Bagatelle; (9) Polka Dots And Moonbeams; (10) Fly Me To The Moon; (11) Darn That Dream; (12) Out Of Rangoon; (13) Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars; (14) Here’s That Rainy Day; (15) Dawgmatism; (16) A Song For Ike; (17) Starlight (75.27)
Collective personnel includes Martin Taylor, Carl Orr, Dave Smith, Esmond Selwyn, Tony Marshall, Andy Brotherton, James Muller, James Sherlock, Shane Hill, John Goldie, Trefor Owen, Andy Hulme, Charles Alexander, Andy Robinson, Saul Isaacs, Ike Isaacs (guitarists in CD sequence); Jane Christie, Frank Holder, Sandie White (v); Andy Christie, Mark Isaacs, Mark Renzi (p); Andy Kinsman, Matt Keegan (ss); Harry Allen (ts). Various recording dates and locations, 1992-2019.