1938 – Quincy Jones (performer and record producer) is born…


1938 – Quincy Jones (performer and record producer) is born this day in rock!

Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. (born March 14, 1933), is an American music conductor, record producer, musical arranger, film composer and trumpeter. During five decades in the entertainment industry, Jones has earned a record 79 Grammy Award nominations, and as the producer and conductor of the charity song “We Are the World”. He is also well known for his popular 1962 song “Soul Bossa Nova”, which originated on the Big Band Bossa Nova album.

In 1968, Jones and his songwriting partner Bob Russell became the first African-Americans to be nominated for an Academy Award in the “Best Original Song” category. That same year, he became the first African-American to be nominated twice within the same year when he was nominated for “Best Original Score” for his work on the music of the 1967 film In Cold Blood. In 1971 Jones would receive the honor of becoming the first African American to be named musical director/conductor of the Academy Awards ceremony. Jones was also the first (and so far, the only) African-American to be nominated as a producer in the category of Best Picture (in 1986, for The Color Purple). He was also the first African-American to win the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, in 1995. He is tied with sound designer Willie D. Burton as the most Oscar-nominated African-American, each of them having seven nominations. At the 2008 BET Awards, Quincy Jones was presented with the Humanitarian Award.


Early life

Jones was born into an African American family in Chicago. He is the eldest son of Sarah Jones , an apartment complex and bank executive who suffered from schizophrenia, and Quincy Delight Jones, Sr., a semi-professional baseball player and carpenter. His mother is a descendant of Mary Belle Lanier, the out-of-wedlock daughter of James Balance Lanier. Jones discovered music in grade school at Raymond Elementary School on Chicago’s South Side and took up the trumpet. When he was 10, his family moved to Bremerton, Washington, near Seattle; there, he attended Garfield High School. He then attended Somerset Academy.

In 1951, Jones won a scholarship to the Schillinger House in Boston, Massachussets. However, he abandoned his studies when he received an offer to tour as a trumpeter with the bandleader Lionel Hampton. 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 like Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Gene Krupa, and his close friend Ray Charles.

Musical career

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 State Department. Upon his return to the United States, Jones got a contract from ABC Records|ABC-Paramount Records and commenced his recording career as the leader of his own band. Jones moved to Paris, France in 1957. He studied music composition and theory with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen. He also performed at the Paris Olympia. Jones became music director at Barclay Disques, the French distributor for Mercury Records and during the 1950s, Jones successfully toured throughout Europe with a number of jazz orchestras. He formed his own band called “The Jones Boys”, which included jazz greats Eddie Jones & fellow trumpeter Reunald Jones, and organized a tour of North America and Europe. Though the tour was a critical success, poor budget planning made it an economic disaster and the fallout left Jones in a financial crisis. Quoted in Musician magazine, Jones said about his 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, got Jones back on his feet with a loan and a new job as the musical director of the company’s New York division. In 1964, Jones was promoted to vice-president of the company, thus becoming the first African American to hold such a position.

One of his popular songs, “Soul Bossa Nova”, was released in 1962 as a track on the album Big Band Bossa Nova, which was also released that year.

In 1963 Jones helped discover singer Lesley Gore, and produced some of her biggest hits, including “It’s My Party”. In 1964 Jones broke down another barrier: at the invitation of film director Sidney Lumet he began composing one of the first of the 33 major motion picture scores he would eventually write. The result was the score for The Pawnbroker.

With Hollywood beckoning, Jones resigned from Mercury Records and moved to Los Angeles to compose film scores full time. Some of his most celebrated compositions were for the films Walk, Don’t Run, In Cold Blood, The Slender Thread, In the Heat of the Night, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, which featured Merrilee Rush performing a cover of the Burt Bacharach classic “What The World Needs Now”, Cactus Flower, The Getaway, The Italian Job, and The Color Purple. He also scored for television, including the shows Roots, Ironside, Sanford and Son, and The Bill Cosby Show, as well as the theme music for The New Bill Cosby Show titled “Chump Change,” which would later serve as the theme for the game show Now You See It. He also composed the theme for the hit TV show “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.

In the 1960s, Jones worked as an arranger for some of the most important artists of the era, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, and Dinah Washington. Jones’ solo recordings also garnered acclaim, including Walking in Space, Gula Matari, Smackwater Jack and Ndeda, You’ve Got It Bad, Girl, Body Heat, Mellow Madness, I Heard That, and The Dude. Starting in the late 1970s, Jones tried to convince Miles Davis to re-perform the music he had played on several classic albums that had been arranged by Gil Evans in the 1960s. 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) and is considered an artistic triumph.

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 theatrical Spielberg film. After the 1985 American Music Awards ceremony, Jones used his influence to draw most major American recording artists of the day into a studio to lay down the track “We Are the World” to raise money for the victims of Ethiopia’s famine. When people marvelled 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 1996, 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. In 1994, Salzman and Jones decided to form the company Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment (QDE) with Time/Warner Inc.. QDE is a diverse company which produces media technology, motion pictures, television programs (In the House, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and MADtv), and literary publications (Vibe and Spin).

In 2001, he published his autobiography Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones. On July 31, 2007, Jones 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 Jones in the studio, producing “I Knew I Loved you” for Celine Dion, which is featured on the Ennio Morricone tribute album, We All Love Ennio Morricone and is slated for an October 2007 release on Dion’s forthcoming album.

In 2006, Jones and other individuals became prominent investors in a Foxwoods slots casino proposed for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of January, 2009, the casino still does not have a building permit.

Work with Michael Jackson

While working on the film The Wiz, Michael Jackson asked him to produce his upcoming solo record. The result, Off The Wall has sold a staggering 20 million copies and made Jones the most powerful record producer in the industry. Jones’ and Jackson’s next collaboration Thriller has sold 104 million copies and became the highest-selling album of all time. Jones also worked on Michael Jackson’s third solo album Bad, which has sold 32 million copies. After the Bad album, Jackson and Jones went their separate ways so that Jackson could produce his later solo works by himself.

In a 2002 interview, when Jackson was asked if he would ever work with Jones again he replied, “the door is always open”. However, in 2007, when NME.COM asked Jones a similar question, he said “Man please, I’ve got enough to do. 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 projects, I’m 74 years old. Give me a break”.

Work with Frank Sinatra

Jones first worked with Frank Sinatra when he was invited by Princess Grace to arrange a benefit at the Monaco Sporting Club in 1958.

Personal life

Jones has never learned to drive, citing an accident in which he was a passenger (at age 14) as the reason. Jones has been married three times and has had seven children:

* to Jeri Caldwell from 1957 to 1966. One daughter, Jolie Jones Levine.
* to Ulla Andersson from 1967 to 1974; they had two children, Martina Jones and son Quincy Jones III;
* to actress Peggy Lipton from 1974 to 1990; they had two daughters, actresses Kidada Jones and Rashida Jones, of which the elder, Kidada, once dated rap icon Tupac Shakur prior to his 1996 murder in Las Vegas.
* Jones also had a brief affair with Carol Reynolds and had daughter, Rachel Jones.
* Jones dated and lived with actress Nastassja Kinski from 1991 until 1997. In February 1993 their daughter Kenya Julia Miambi Sarah Jones was born.

In 1974, Jones suffered a cerebral aneurysm that almost claimed his life. He underwent two major brain surgeries and spent half a year convalescing. He was advised never to play trumpet again as it might disturb the settings left in his head by the procedure.

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 Chicago. For many years he has worked closely with Bono of U2 on a number of philanthropic issues. He is the founder of the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation, a charity which connects youths with technology, education, culture and music. One of the organizations programs is an intercultural exchange between underprivileged youths from Los Angeles and South Africa.

In 2001, the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation built over 100 homes for Nelson Mandela’s foundation in 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 Glocal Forum, the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation and Mr. 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 a half-million-person audience.

Jones supports a number of other charities including the NAACP, GLAAD, Peace Games, AmFAR and The Maybach Foundation

Awards and recognition

In 2000, Harvard University endowed the Quincy Jones Professorship of Afro-American Music with a grant of $3 million from Time Warner. The endowed chair for African-American music, housed in Harvard’s African and African-American Studies Department, is believed to be the first in the nation, and is presently held by the ethnomusicologist Ingrid Monson. Distinguished scholar and public intellectual Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is a close, personal friend of Jones’s.
Quincy Jones arriving at the Grammy Foundation’s Starry Night Honoring Quincy Jones on July 28, 2007 at the UCLA Tennis Center in Los Angeles, California.

In January 2005, Jones was honored by the United Negro College Fund at their annual Evening of Stars event for an entertainment career that has spanned over five decades.

Berklee College of Music considers Jones to be its most successful alumnus, even though he only attended for a year. His original application for admission is housed in a display case at the school. On September 19, 2005, Jones was honored at the Dance Music Hall of Fame ceremony, when he was inducted for his many outstanding achievements as a producer. He was awarded the Polar Music Prize in 1994.

On May 20, 2007, Jones received an honorary doctorate of humanities degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

On March 26, 2001, Quincy Jones received the highly coveted French Légion d’Honneur medal for his significant achievements in his career.

In 2007, Jones was honored by the Harvard School of Public Health as its Mentor of the Year
Usher (left) and Dr. Jay Winsten (right), an associate dean at the Harvard School of Public Health, presented Quincy Jones with the School’s Mentor of the Year award at a gala in New York City on January 24, 2007.

Jones was presented with the annual George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement in 2007 during UCLA Spring Sing.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver announced on May 28, 2008 that Jones will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts. The induction ceremony will take place December 15 and he will be inducted alongside 11 other legendary Californians.
Quincy Jones in 2008.

Princeton University also awarded an honorary doctorate degree to Quincy Jones, “an inspirational creative artist and entertainment industry executive,” during Commencement exercises on June 3, 2008 for his contributions to music and entertainment.

On May 14, 2008, Washington University in St. Louis presented Jones with an honorary Doctorate of Arts degree, citing his lifetime musical accomplishments.

On June 14, 2008 Jones was awarded a honorary degree from the University of Washington and delivered the keynote speech at the university’s 133rd commencement.

On June 24, 2008 at the BET Awards, Quincy Jones was presented with the Humanitarian Award.

On September 26, 2008 Garfield High School’s Quincy Jones Performing Arts Center was officially dedicated to Quincy Jones.

On October 1, 2008 Quincy Jones was presented with the Unity Through Music Award at Thank Q: A World Music Tribute to the Humanitarian Works of Quincy Jones.

On December 15, 2008 Quincy Jones was inducted in the California Hall of Fame at the California Museum in Sacramento, Califorina.

Media appearances
Quincy Jones during NASA’s 50th anniversary gala, 2008.

Jones had a cameo in the 1997 video for the Puff Daddy song “Been Around the World” (as “Uncle Q”). Rapper Ludacris sampled Jones’ “Soul Bossa Nova” for his 2005 single “Number One Spot”. Jones was featured in the video; he also performed a cameo in Austin Powers in Goldmember, which also featured “Soul Bossa Nova” on its soundtrack. Jones had a brief appearance in the 1990 video for The Time song “Jerk Out”. Jones was a guest star on an episode of The Boondocks in which he and the main character, Huey Freeman, co-produced a Christmas play for Huey’s elementary school.

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 ). Jones also impersonated Marion Barry in the then-recurring sketch, “The Bob Waltman Special”. Quincy Jones would later be producer for his own sketch comedy show: FOX’s MADtv, which has often been compared favorably (and unfavorably) to Saturday Night Live.

Quincy Jones appeared in the Walt Disney Pictures film Fantasia 2000, introducing the set piece of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

On February 10, 2008 Quincy presented at the Grammy Awards. With Usher he presented 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 experiences within his prolific career. Also discussed was also the informal notion of Jones becoming the first Minister of Culture for the United States – following the pending inauguration of the 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama. Carson Daly indicated the U.S. as being one of the only leading world countries, along with Germany, to exclude this position from the national government. This idea has also been subject to more in-depth discussion on NPR.

Brazilian culture

Jones is a great admirer of Brazilian culture and a film on Brazil´s Carnival is among his recent plans: “one of the most spectacular spiritual events on the planet”  stand as close friends and partners in his recent works.

African American Lives
Main article: African American Lives

For the 2006 PBS television program African American Lives, Jones had his DNA tested; and could possibly be of Welsh, and West African/Central African ancestry of Tikar descent.

The test showed him to be descended from the Tikar of Cameroon, an ethnic group whose members are well known for their artistic and musical prowess. The test also showed that 34 percent of his ancestry is European.

Cultural references

* South Korean popstar BoA, a popular artist in Japan, released a single called Quincy in 2004 that was a “soul disco” song in homage to his legacy. (The single made it to #4 on the Japanese Oricon Charts.)

* Jones was portrayed by Larenz Tate in the 2004 biography about Ray Charles, Ray.

* In the TV Series Mission Hill, at the end of the episode, “Day of the Jackass”, the main character, Andy French, receives a gift from an actress he briefly knew. The gift in question is an emmy award titled Lifetime Achievement in Music, for Quincy Jones.

* In the TV series Flight of the Conchords episode “Girlfriends”, a man swindles Murray Hewitt by claiming to be Quincy Jones’ brother.

* In the TV series Arrested Development Starla claims to have a deep personal relationship with Quincy Jones (or Q)

* Jones makes a guest appearance in Austin Power’s Goldmember during the movie’s opening sequence (during the parody of Singing in the rain).

* The Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi based his alias upon Quincy Jones. Retranscribed in Japanese, “Quincy Jones” became “Joe Hisaishi.” “Quincy,” pronounced “Kuinshii” in Japanese, can be roughly approximated using the same kanji in “Hisaishi” (alternately read, Ku-Ishi); “Joe” refers to “Jones.”

Main article: Quincy Jones discography

See also

* List of number-one dance hits (United States)
* List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart


1. ^ a b Fortune test drives a Mercedes Maybach with Quincy Jones – February 5, 2007
2. ^ Jacko’s Back! | MTV UK
3. ^ Quincy Jones Biography (1933-)
4. ^ “The Last Great Set”, David Thigpen, Time, October 4, 1993
5. ^ Quincy Jones
6. ^ Foxwoods Philadelphia website, listing investors
7. ^ www.planphilly.com
8. ^ Guinness World Records
9. ^ Quincy Jones snubs chance to team up with Michael Jackson | News | NME.COM
10. ^ (Quincy Jones) Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones, Doubleday, 2001, pp. 129-132.
11. ^ (Jones), pp. 179-83.
12. ^ Live and Swingin’: The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection, Reprise R2 73922, 2003 (CD & DVD)
13. ^ video tape “Frank Sinatra”, Good Times Home Video, #05-09845. One of a set of five tapes. 1999?
14. ^ on the VHS tape,Frank Sinatra: Porttrait of an Artist, MGM/UA Video, 1985, MV400648.
15. ^ Fortune test drives a Mercedes Maybach with Quincy Jones – February 5, 2007
16. ^ Quincy Jones — Family and Companions, Yahoo! Movies
17. ^ urbiz.com. 2009-01-04. URL:http://www.tpurbizdigital.com/urbiz/2008/?pg=15. Accessed: 2009-01-04. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5dai0Xest)
18. ^ John Schaefer interview with Quincy Jones on Soundcheck, November 14, 2008
19. ^ Suzanne Perry, “Online Petition Asks Obama to Create Secretary of the Arts Position” November 26, 2008
20. ^ DeadlineHollywoodDaily
21. ^ BBC News | Music | Quincy Jones gets French honour
22. ^
23. ^
24. ^ Quincy Jones receives Gershwin Award
25. ^ Princeton University – Princeton awards five honorary degrees
26. ^ Washington University to award six honorary degrees at 147th Commencement
27. ^ UW graduation draws 40,000 as musician Quincy Jones speaks
28. ^ http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99450228
29. ^ http://chronicle.com/review/brainstorm/katz/do-we-need-a-minister-of-culture-in-these-united-states
30. ^ Quincy Jones celebrates Carnival with new movie
31. ^ Brazilian Television, Rede Bandeirantes, 2006, Flash Program]
32. ^ AllBrazilianMusic, Ivan Lins from A to Z
33. ^ LuaMusic.com
34. ^ Scholar Helps Black Americans Trace Family Roots : NPR

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