Quebec, Ike (Abrams)

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Quebec, Ike (Abrams)

Quebec, Ike (Abrams) , jazz tenor saxophonist; b. Newark, N.J., Aug. 17, 1918; d. N.Y., Jan. 16, 1963. His nickname was “Jim Dawgs.” Quebec gigged on piano as a teenager and also worked as a dancer. His first professional work was with the Barons of Rhythm in 1940. During the 1940s, he played with numerous small bands, usually based in N.Y., including Frankie Newton, Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, Kenny Clarke (with whom he co-wrote the song “Mop Mop”), Hot Lips Page, Trummy Young, Lucky Millinder, Roy Eld-ridge Quintet, etc. His recording “Blue Harlem” (1945) became a huge hit. He worked on and off with Cab Calloway from June 1944 until early 1951. Alfred Lion hired him as Blue Note’s A&R man in the late 1940s, after Quebec repeatedly informed him about talented prospective signées. He led his own band in the 1950s, but his career was briefly stalled because of his heroin addiction. Until the late 1950s, he concentrated on recording and finding acts for the label; he signed Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell to Blue Note, among others. Quebec wrote “Suburban Eyes” for Monk’s label debut. He began playing again in the late 1950s, working on Blue Note sessions with Sonny Clark, Jimmy Smith, singer Dodo Green, and Stanley Turrentine, plus his own dates. He also worked as a chauffeur from the late 1950s, making his last recordings in 1961 when illness forced him to quit playing. He died of lung cancer.


Tenor Sax Album: The Savoy Sessions (1945); Complete Blue Note 45 Sessions (1959); It Might As Well Be Spring (1961); Heavy Soul (1961); Blue and Sentimental (1961); With a Song in My Heart (1962); Soul Samba (1962); Easy Living (1962); Congo Lament (1962).

—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Music Master Jazz and Blues Catalogue/Lewis Porter