Most creative people will tell you that the best way to keep current is to stay in touch with younger artists. Musician, composer, arranger, producer, conductor, activist and philanthropist Quincy Jones has done just that.
Although, he’s been arranging and recording since the mid-50s and has worked with greats like Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderly, Lavern Baker, Frank Sinatra, Jacques Brel, Henri Salvador and Charles Aznavour, among many others, he hasn’t lost track of younger performers, been shy of embracing different genres of music or pursuing other creative vehicles.
He produced the 1985 best-selling single, We Are The World. He also produced Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, Bad and Thriller, written music for television shows like Sanford and Son, produced shows such as the Fresh Prince of Belair and Mad TV, co-produced The Color Purple, wrote the score for movies from In Cold Blood to Roots, founded and published Vibe Magazine and published SPIN and Blaze Magazines.
His 1989 studio album Back on the Block brought together musicians and performers from Ice-T to Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie to Chaka Khan, Sarah Vaughn, Bobby McFerrin, Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Dionne Warwick, Big Daddy Kane and others and won seven Grammy Awards, including for Album of the Year.
Quincy Delightt Jones, Jr. was born on March 14, 1933 in Chicago and grew up in Seattle. He began studying the trumpet at age 12 and attended Boston’s Berklee College of Music on scholarship but left to go on tour with Lionel Hampton. In 1968, Jones along with his songwriting partner, Bob Russell, were the first African American musicians to be nominated for a Grammy Award. Since then, he’s had 79 Grammy nominations and been awarded 27.
Give a listen to The Secret Garden from Back on the Block and let me know how many performers you can identify.