Quincy Jones is a highly celebrated American musician with a career spanning over sixty years. He is an outstanding composer, arranger and talent scout who has had a great impact on the music scene and more generally on the African-American community.
Quincy Jones grew up in Seattle where he began studying the trumpet at school and sang in a gospel quartet. At 18 he was awarded a scholarship to take classes at the Berklee School in Boston. As a member of Lionel Hampton’s orchestra, he had the opportunity to discover Europe and to begin working as an arranger. After a world tour with Dizzy Gillespie, he moved to Paris where he studied with Nadia Boulanger before going to work as the Artistic Director of the Barclay Label. He founded his first big band, with only minor success. At the beginning of the 1960s Quincy Jones returned to the United States, moving to New York where he dedicated himself to arranging and then became the first African-American Musical Director of Mercury. In the same year he composed his first film score for Sidney Lumet. He also started working for television and began producing rhythm ‘n’ blues, funk, pop and jazz albums. In 1974 he met the young Michael Jackson; he went on to produce the artists most commercially successful albums Off the Wall and Thriller, the latter of which is still the most sold record of all time.
Quincy Jones launched his own label Q West in 1981. In 1985 he coproduced the film The Colour Purple, in this year he also directed the recording of We Are The World, a humanitarian project to fight the Ethiopian famine. By the 90s he was a major figure of the American music scene, across all genres – he conducted Miles Davis’ last concerts whilst also organising Bill Clinton’s inauguration concert. Quincy Jones is still very active today; he makes regular appearances at jazz festivals and music events across the United States and Europe.
Six Landmark Dates in the Life of Quincy Jones
1964 – Became Vice-President of the Mercury Record Label
1989 – Released the album Back on the Block, which receives seven Grammy Awards
1991 – Recorded with Miles Davis for his last album – Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux, several months before the trumpeter’s death.
1994 – Created “QED” a production company for television, film and computer software
2000 – Conducted the National Orchestra of France at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées
2001 – Wrote “Q” his autobiography
Six Key Recordings
1959 – The Birth of a Band
1974 – Body Heat
1989 – Back on the Block
1993 – Miles Davis and Quincy Jones Live at Montreux
1999 – From Q With Love
2009 – You’ve Got It Bad Girl