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HOME > RealityTVDB > Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones


Quincy Jones (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. (born March 14, 1933) is an American record producer, conductor, arranger, composer, television producer, and trumpeter. His career spans six decades in the entertainment industry and a record 79 Grammy Award nominations, 27 Grammys, including a Grammy Legend Award in 1991.

In 1968, Jones and his songwriting partner Bob Russell became the first African Americans to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, their "The Eyes of Love" for the Universal Pictures film Banning. That same year, he became the first African American to be nominated twice within the same year for an Academy Award for Best Original Score, as he was also nominated for his work on the film In Cold Blood (1967). In 1971, Jones was the first African American to be named as the musical director/conductor of the Academy Awards ceremony. In 1995 he was the first African American to receive the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. He is tied with sound designer Willie D. Burton as the African American who has been nominated for the most Oscars; each has received seven nominations.

Jones was the co-producer, with Michael Jackson, of the albums Off the Wall (1979) and Thriller (1982). The latter has sold more than 110 million copies worldwide, and Bad (1987), as well as being the producer and conductor of the charity song "We Are the World".

He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 as the winner, alongside Lou Adler, of the Ahmet Ertegun Award.

Early life

Quincy Jones was born during the Great Depression on the South Side of Chicago to Quincy Delightt Jones, Sr. and Sarah Frances (née Wells). His father was a semi-professional baseball player and carpenter from Kentucky; his grandmother was an ex-slave in Louisville. Sarah was a bank officer and apartment complex manager. Quincy had a younger brother Lloyd, who died in 1998. When the boys were young, their mother suffered from a schizophrenic breakdown and had to be committed to a mental institution. His father got a divorce.

His father next married Elvera, who had three children of her own: Waymond, a friend of the young Quincy, Theresa and Katherine. Elvera and Quincy Senior had three more children together through 1950, after they had moved to the Northwest: Jeanette, Margie and Richard, for a total of eight in the family.

When Jones was ten, his family moved to Bremerton, Washington, where in 1943 his father got a wartime job at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Tens of thousands of African Americans were attracted to the West Coast in the Great Migration during this period to work in the defense industry. After the end of World War II, in 1946-1947 the Jones family moved to Seattle, the major regional city with more jobs, where Jones attended its Garfield High School near his home. He had discovered music when he was 12 and got more deeply involved in high school, beginning to compose arrangements. Classmates included Charles Taylor, who played saxophone and whose mother, Evelyn Bundy, had been one of Seattle's first society jazz-band leaders. The youths began playing with a band. At the age of 14, they were playing with a National Reserve band. Jones has said he got much more experience growing up in a smaller city; otherwise there would have been too much competition.

At the age of 14, Jones introduced himself to a 16-year-old musician from Florida called Ray Charles after watching him play at the Black Elks Club. Jones cites Ray Charles as an early inspiration for his own music career. He noted that Charles overcame a disability to achieve his musical goals. Jones developed his skills as a trumpeter and arranger in high school. He has credited his father's sturdy work ethic with giving him the means to proceed and his loving strength with holding the family together. Jones has said his father had a saying: "Once a task is just begun, never leave until it's done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all."

In 1951, Jones won a scholarship to Schillinger House (now Berklee College of Music) in Boston, Massachusetts. He left his studies after he received an offer to tour as a trumpeter with the bandleader Lionel Hampton and embarked on his professional career. While Jones was on the road with Hampton, he displayed a gift for arranging songs. Jones relocated to New York City, where he received a number of freelance commissions arranging songs for artists including Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Gene Krupa, and his close friend Ray Charles.

His brother Lloyd became an engineer for the Seattle station, KOMO-TV. His half-brother Richard Jones, born in 1950, has become an attorney and, in 2007, a federal district court judge in Seattle. As a King County judge, he presided over several high-profile cases, including the 2003 trial of Gary Ridgway, the notorious "Green River Killer".

Musical career

At the age of 19, Jones traveled with Lionel Hampton to Europe and said it turned him upside down, altering his view of racism in the US.

"It gave you some sense of perspective of past, present and future. It took the myopic conflict between just black and white in the United States and put it on another level because you saw the turmoil between the Armenians and the Turks, and the Cypriots and the Greeks, and the Swedes and the Danes, and the Koreans and the Japanese. Everybody had these hassles, and you saw it was a basic part of human nature, these conflicts. It opened my soul, it opened my mind."
In 1956, Jones toured again as a trumpeter and musical director of the Dizzy Gillespie Band on a tour of the Middle East and South America sponsored by the United States Information Agency. Upon his return, Jones got a contract from ABC-Paramount Records and started his recording career as the leader of his own band. In 1957, Quincy settled in Paris, where he studied composition and theory with Nadia Boulanger and composer Olivier Messiaen. He also performed at the Paris Olympia. Jones became music director at Barclay Disques, the French distributor for Mercury Records.

During the 1950s, Jones successfully toured throughout Europe with a number of jazz orchestras. As musical director of Harold Arlen's jazz musical Free and Easy, Quincy Jones took to the road again. A European tour closed in Paris in February 1960. With musicians from the Arlen show, Jones formed his own big band, called The Jones Boys, with 18 artists. The band included jazz greats Eddie Jones and fellow trumpeter Reunald Jones, and organized a tour of North America and Europe. Though the European and American concerts met enthusiastic audiences and sparkling reviews, concert earnings could not support a band of this size. Poor budget planning resulted in an economic disaster; the band dissolved and the fallout left Jones in a financial crisis. Quoted in Musician magazine, Jones said about the ordeal,

"We had the best jazz band in the planet, and yet we were literally starving. That's when I discovered that there was music, and there was the music business. If I were to survive, I would have to learn the difference between the two."
Irving Green, head of Mercury Records, helped Jones with a personal loan and a new job as the musical director of the company's New York division. There he worked with Doug Moody, who founded Mystic Records.

1960s breakthrough and rise to prominence

In 1964, Jones was promoted to vice-president of the company, becoming the first African American to hold such an executive position in a white-owned record company. In that same year, he turned his attention to film scores, another musical arena long closed to blacks. At the invitation of director Sidney Lumet, he composed the music for The Pawnbroker (1964). It was the first of his 33 major motion picture scores.

Following the success of The Pawnbroker, Jones left Mercury Records and moved to Los Angeles. After his film score for The Slender Thread, starring Sidney Poitier, he was in constant demand as a composer. His film credits in the next five years included Walk, Don't Run, In Cold Blood, In the Heat of the Night, A Dandy in Aspic, Mackenna's Gold, The Italian Job, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Lost Man, Cactus Flower, and The Getaway. In addition, he composed "The Streetbeater," which became familiar as the theme music for the television sitcom Sanford and Son, starring close friend Redd Foxx.

In the 1960s, Jones worked as an arranger for some of the most important artists of the era, including Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughn, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, and Dinah Washington. Jones's solo recordings also garnered acclaim, including Walking in Space, Gula Matari, Smackwater Jack, You've Got It Bad, Girl, Body Heat, Mellow Madness, and I Heard That!!.

He is well known for his 1962 tune "Soul Bossa Nova", which originated on the Big Band Bossa Nova album. "Soul Bossa Nova" was a theme used for the 1998 World Cup, the Canadian game show Definition, the Woody Allen film Take the Money and Run and the Austin Powers film series. It was sampled by Canadian hip hop group Dream Warriors for their song, "My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style".

Jones produced all four million-selling singles for Lesley Gore during the early and mid-sixties, including "It's My Party" (UK No. 8; US No. 1), "Judy's Turn To Cry" (US No. 5), "She's A Fool" (also a US No. 5) in 1963, and "You Don't Own Me" (US No. 2 for four weeks in 1964). He continued to produce for Gore until 1966, including the Greenwich/ Barry hit "Look of Love" (US No. 27) in 1965.

Jones's 1981 album The Dude yielded multiple hit singles, including "Ai No Corrida" (a remake of a song by Chaz Jankel), "Just Once" and "One Hundred Ways", the latter two featuring James Ingram on lead vocals and marking Ingram's first hits.

In 1985, Jones scored the Steven Spielberg film adaptation of The Color Purple. He and Jerry Goldsmith (from Twilight Zone: The Movie) are the only composers besides John Williams to have scored a Spielberg theatrical film. After the 1985 American Music Awards ceremony, Jones used his influence to draw most of the major American recording artists of the day into a studio to record the song "We Are the World" to raise money for the victims of Ethiopia's famine. When people marveled at his ability to make the collaboration work, Jones explained that he'd taped a simple sign on the entrance: "Check Your Ego At The Door".

In 1988, Quincy Jones Productions joined forces with Warner Communications to create Quincy Jones Entertainment. He signed a ten-picture deal with Warner Brotheres and signed a two-series deal with NBC Productions. The television show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was completed in 1990, but producers of In the House later rejected its early concept stages.

Starting in the late 1970s, Jones tried to convince Miles Davis to perform the music he had recorded on several classic albums of the 1960s, which had been arranged by Gil Evans. Davis had always refused, citing a desire not to revisit the past. In 1991, Davis, then suffering from pneumonia, relented and agreed to perform the music at a concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The resulting album from the recording, Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux, was Davis' last released album (he died several months afterward). It is considered an artistic triumph.

In 1993, Jones collaborated with David Salzman to produce the concert extravaganza An American Reunion, a celebration of Bill Clinton's inauguration as president of the United States. The same year, Jones joined forces with Salzman and renamed his company as Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment (QDE). QDE is a diverse company that produces media technology, motion pictures, television programs (In the House, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and MADtv), and magazines (Vibe and Spin).

In 2001, Jones published his autobiography, Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones. On July 31, 2007, he partnered with Wizzard Media to launch the Quincy Jones Video Podcast. In each episode, Jones shares his knowledge and experience in the music industry. The first episode features him in the studio, producing "I Knew I Loved you" for Celine Dion. This is featured on the Ennio Morricone tribute album, We All Love Ennio Morricone. Jones is also noted for helping produce Anita Hall's CD, Send Love, which was released in 2009.

Work with Michael Jackson

While working on the film The Wiz, Michael Jackson asked Jones to recommend some producers for his upcoming solo record. Jones offered some names, but eventually offered to produce the record. Jackson accepted and the resulting record Off The Wall ultimately sold about 20 million copies. This made Jones the most powerful record producer in the industry at that time. Jones' and Jackson's next collaboration Thriller has sold a reputed 110 million copies and has become the highest-selling album of all time. Jones also worked on Jackson's album Bad, which has sold 45 million copies. Bad was the last time the pair worked together in the studio. Audio interviews with Jones are featured on the 2001 special editions of Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad.

In a 2002 interview, when asked if he would work with Jones again, Jackson suggested he might. But, in 2007, when Jones was asked by NME, he said "Man, please! We already did that. I have talked to him about working with him again but I've got too much to do. I've got 900 products, I'm 74 years old."

Following Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, Jones said: </ref>}}

Work with Frank Sinatra

Jones first worked with Frank Sinatra in 1958 when invited by Princess Grace to arrange a benefit concert at the Monaco Sporting Club. Six years later, Sinatra hired him to arrange and conduct Sinatra's second album with Count Basie, It Might as Well Be Swing (1964). Jones conducted and arranged the singer's live album with the Basie Band, Sinatra at the Sands (1966). Jones was also the arranger/conductor when Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, and Johnny Carson performed with the Basie orchestra in June 1965 in St. Louis, Missouri, in a benefit for Dismas House. The fund-raiser was broadcast to movie theaters around the country and eventually released on DVD. Later that year, Jones was the arranger/conductor when Sinatra and Basie appeared on The Hollywood Palace TV show on October 16, 1965. Nineteen years later, Sinatra and Jones teamed up for 1984's L.A. Is My Lady.

Brazilian culture

A great admirer of Brazilian culture, Jones is planning a film on Brazil's "Carnival," describing it as "one of the most spectacular spiritual events on the planet." The Brazilians Simone, whom he cites as "one of the world´s greatest singers", Ivan Lins, Milton Nascimento and Gilson Peranzzetta, "one of the five biggest arrangement producers of the world", percussionist Paulinho Da Costa "one of the best in the business", have become close friends and partners in his recent works.

Media appearances

Jones had a brief appearance in the 1990 video for The Time song "Jerk Out". Jones was a guest actor on an episode of The Boondocks. He appeared with Ray Charles in the music video of their song "One Mint Julep" and also with Ray Charles and Chaka Khan in the music video of their song "I'll Be Good to You".

Quincy Jones hosted an episode of the long-running NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live on February 10, 1990 (during SNL's 15th season). The episode was notable for having 10 musical guests (the most any SNL episode has ever had in its near-40 years on the air): Tevin Campbell, Andrae Crouch, Sandra Crouch, rappers Kool Moe Dee and Big Daddy Kane, Melle Mel, Quincy D III, Siedah Garrett, Al Jarreau, and Take 6, and for a performance of Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca" by The SNL Band (conducted by Quincy Jones). Jones impersonated Marion Barry, former mayor of Washington, DC, in the then-recurring sketch, The Bob Waltman Special. Quincy Jones later produced his own sketch comedy show, FOX's MADtv. This competed with SNL from 1995 to 2009.

Jones appeared in the Walt Disney Pictures film, Fantasia 2000, introducing the set piece of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Two years later he made a cameo appearance as himself in the film Austin Powers in Goldmember.

On February 10, 2008, Jones joined Usher in presenting the Grammy Award for Album of the Year to Herbie Hancock.

On January 6, 2009, Quincy Jones appeared on NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly to discuss various aspects of his prolific career. Daly informally floated the idea that Jones should become the first minister of culture for the United States, pending the inauguration of Barack Obama as President. Daly noted that only the US and Germany, among leading world countries, did not have a cabinet-level position for this role. Commentators on NPR and in the Chronicle of Higher Education have also discussed the topic of a minister of culture.

On December 12, 2009, Jones performed at a private reception for USAA employees at the Alamo Dome, in San Antonio, Texas.

On February 5, 2011 Quincy Jones appeared on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman.

Awards and recognition

Discography

Main article: Quincy Jones production discography

Personal life

With the help of the author Alex Haley in 1972 and Mormon researchers in Salt Lake City, Jones discovered that his mother's ancestors included James Lanier, a relative of Sidney Lanier, the poet. Jones said in an interview, "He had a baby with my great-grandmother [a slave], and my grandmother was born there [on a plantation in Kentucky]. We traced this all the way back to the Laniers, same family as Tennessee Williams." Learning that the Laniers had been French Huguenot refugee immigrants who had court musicians among their ancestors, Jones attributed some of his musicianship to them. In a 2009 BBC interview, Jones said Haley further helped him learn that his father was of half Welsh ancestry.

Jones has been married three times and has had other relationships; he has a total of seven children:

  • Jeri Caldwell (1957 to 1966); they had a daughter, Jolie Jones (now married and using the surname Levine).
  • Ulla Andersson, Swedish actress, (1967 to 1974); they had two children, Martina and Quincy Jones III;
  • Peggy Lipton, actress, (1974 to 1990); they had two daughters, Kidada and Rashida Jones, both born in the United States, who have become actresses.
  • Jones had a brief affair with Carol Reynolds, and they had a daughter, Rachel Jones.
  • Jones dated and lived with the actress, Nastassja Kinski, from 1991 until 1995. They had a daughter, Kenya Julia Miambi Sarah Jones, born in 1993.
For the 2006 PBS television program African American Lives, Jones had his DNA tested and genealogists researched his family history. His DNA admixture revealed he is predominately African and 34% European in ancestry. Research showed that he has English, French and Italian ancestry, with European ancestry in his direct patrilineal line (Y DNA). Through his direct matrilineal line (mt DNA), he is of West African/Central African ancestry of Tikar descent, centered in present-day Cameroon and known for their music. Jones also has European ancestry on his mother's side, including Lanier male ancestors who fought for the Confederacy, making him eligible for Sons of Confederate Veterans. Among his ancestors is Betty Washington Lewis, the sister of president George Washington. Jones is also a direct descendent of Edward I of England, with King Edward's direct ascendents including Rurik, and Polish, Swiss, and French nobility.

Jones has never learned to drive, citing an accident in which he was a passenger (at age 14) as the reason.

Social activism

Jones's social activism began in the 1960s with his support of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jones is one of the founders of the Institute for Black American Music (IBAM), whose events aim to raise enough funds for the creation of a national library of African American art and music. Jones is also one of the founders of the Black Arts Festival in his hometown of Chicago. In the 1970s Jones formed The Quincy Jones Workshops. Meeting at the Los Angeles Landmark Variety Arts Center, the workshops educated and honed the skills of inner city youth in musicianship, acting and songwriting. Among its Alumni were Alton Mc Clain who had a hit song with Alton Mc Clain and Destiny, and Mark Wilkins, who co-wrote the hit song "Havin' A Love Attack" with Mandrill, and went on to become the National Promotion Director for Punk / Thrash record label Mystic Records.

For many years, Jones has worked closely with Bono of U2 on a number of philanthropic endeavors. He is the founder of the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation, a nonprofit that connects youths with technology, education, culture and music. One of the organization's programs is an intercultural exchange between underprivileged youths from Los Angeles and South Africa.

In 2004, Jones helped launch the We Are the Future (WAF) project, which gives children in poor and conflict-ridden areas a chance to live their childhoods and develop a sense of hope. The program is the result of a strategic partnership between the Global Forum, the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation, and Hani Masri, with the support of the World Bank, UN agencies and major companies. The project was launched with a concert in Rome, Italy, in front of an audience of half a million people.

Jones supports a number of other charities including the NAACP, GLAAD, Peace Games, AmfAR and The Maybach Foundation. Jones serves on the Advisory Board of HealthCorps. On July 26, 2007, he announced his endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. But with the election of Barack Obama, Quincy Jones said that his next conversation "with President Obama [will be] to beg for a secretary of arts," This prompted the circulation of a petition on the Internet asking Obama to create such a Cabinet-level position in his administration.

In 2001, Jones became an honorary member of the Board of Directors of The Jazz Foundation of America. He has worked with The Jazz Foundation of America to save the homes and the lives of America's elderly jazz and blues musicians, including those who survived Hurricane Katrina.

Jones and his friend John Sie, founder of Liberty Starz, worked together to create the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. They were inspired by Sie"s granddaughter, Sophia, who has Down syndrome.

Honors and awards

In addition to receiving recognition specifically for his music and arrangements, Jones has been recognized for his overall contributions to music and humanitarian goals. He has received numerous honorary doctorates and been invited to speak at college and university commencement ceremonies.

  • Garfield High School in Seattle named a performing arts center after him.
  • He was featured in the biopic Ray (2004), about his good friend Ray Charles, and played by Larenz Tate.
  • In 2008 he received the Humanitarian Award at the BET Awards.


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