Cultural Percussionist

Ike Quebec Day

Ike Abrams Quebec (August 17, 1918 – January 16, 1963) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He began his career in the big band era of the 1940s, then fell from prominence for a time until launching a comeback in the years before his death.

Critic Alex Henderson wrote, “Though he was never an innovator, Quebec had a big, breathy sound that was distinctive and easily recognizable, and he was quite consistent when it came to down-home blues, sexy ballads, and up-tempo aggression.”

Quebec was born in Newark, New Jersey. An accomplished dancer and pianist, he switched to tenor sax as his primary instrument in his early twenties, and quickly earned a reputation as a promising player. His recording career started in 1940, with the Barons of Rhythm.

Later on, he recorded or performed with Frankie Newton, Hot Lips Page, Roy Eldridge, Trummy Young, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins. Between 1944 and 1951, he worked intermittently with Cab Calloway. He recorded for Blue Note Records in this era, and also served as a talent scout for the label (helping pianists Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell come to wider attention). Due to his exceptional sight reading skills, Quebec was also an uncredited impromptu arranger for many Blue Note sessions.

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