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Quincy Jones

In a musical career that has spanned seven decades, Quincy Jones has earned his reputation as a renaissance man of American music. Jones has distinguished himself as a bandleader, a solo artist, a sideman, a songwriter, a producer, an arranger, a film composer, and a record label executive, and outside of music, he's also written books, produced major motion pictures, and helped create television series. And a quick look at a few of the artists Jones has worked with suggests the remarkable diversity of his career -- Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Lesley Gore, Michael Jackson, Peggy Lee, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, and Aretha Franklin.

Jones was born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 14, 1933. When he was still a youngster, his family moved to Seattle, WA, and he soon developed an interest in music. In his early teens, Jones began learning the trumpet, and started singing with a local gospel group. By the time he graduated from high school in 1950, Jones had displayed enough promise to win a scholarship to Boston-based music school Schillinger House (which later became known as the Berklee School of Music). After a year at Schillinger, Jones relocated to New York City, where he found work as an arranger, writing charts for Count Basie, Cannonball Adderley, Tommy Dorsey, and Dinah Washington, among others. In 1953, Jones scored his first big break as a performer; he was added to the brass section of Lionel Hampton's orchestra, where he found himself playing alongside jazz legends Art Farmer and Clifford Brown. Three years later, Dizzy Gillespie tapped Jones to play in his band, and later in 1956, when Gillespie was invited to put together a big band of outstanding international musicians, Diz chose Quincy to lead the ensemble. Jones also released his first album under his own name that year, a set for ABC-Paramount appropriately entitled This Is How I Feel About Jazz.

In 1957, Jones moved to Paris in order to study with Nadia Boulanger, an expatriate American composer with a stellar track record in educating composers and bandleaders. During his sojourn in France, Jones took a job with the French record label Barclay, where he produced and arranged sessions for Jacques Brel and Charles Aznavour, as well as traveling American artists, including Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan. Jones' work for Barclay impressed the management at Mercury Records, a American label affiliated with the French imprint, and in 1961, he was named a vice president for Mercury, the first time an African-American had been hired as an upper-level executive by a major U.S. recording company. Jones scored one of his first major pop successes when he produced and arranged "It's My Party" for teenage vocalist Lesley Gore, which marked his first significant step away from jazz into the larger world of popular music. (Jones also freelanced for other labels on the side, including arranging a number of memorable Atlantic sides for Ray Charles.) In 1963, Jones began exploring what would become a fruitful medium for him when he composed his first film score for Sidney Lumet's controversial drama The Pawnbroker; he would go on to write music for 33 feature films, including In Cold Blood, In the Heat of the Night, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, and The Getaway. In 1964, Jones' work with Count Basie led him to arrange and conduct sessions for Frank Sinatra's album It Might as Well Be Swing, recorded in collaboration with Basie and his orchestra; he also worked with Sinatra and Basie again as an arranger for the award-winning Sinatra at the Sands set, and would produce and arrange one of Sinatra's last albums, L.A. Is My Lady, in 1984.

While Jones maintained a busy schedule as a composer, producer, and arranger through the 1960s, he also re-emerged as a recording artist in 1969 with the album Walking in Space, which found Jones recasting his big-band influences within the framework of the budding fusion movement and the influences of contemporary rock, pop, and R&B sounds. The album was a commercial and critical success, and kick started Jones' career as a recording artist. At the same time, he began working more closely with contemporary pop artists, producing sessions for Aretha Franklin and arranging strings for Paul Simon's There Goes Rhymin' Simon, and while Jones continued to work with jazz artists, many hard-and-fast jazz fans began to accuse Jones of turning his back on the genre, though Jones always contended his greatest allegiance was to African-American musical culture rather than any specific style. (Jones did, however, make one major jazz gesture in 1991, when he persuaded Miles Davis to revisit the classic Gil Evans arrangements from Miles Ahead, Sketches of Spain, and Porgy and Bess for that year's Montreux Jazz Festival; Jones coordinated the concert and led the orchestra, and it proved to be one of the last major events for the ailing Davis, who passed on a few months later.)

In 1974, Jones suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm, and while he made a full recovery, he also made a decision to cut back on his schedule to spend more time with his family. While Jones may have had fewer projects on his plate in the late '70s and early '80s, they tended to be higher profile from this point on; he produced major chart hits for the Brothers Johnson and Rufus & Chaka Khan, and his own albums grew into all-star productions in which Jones orchestrated top players and singers in elaborate pop-R&B confections on sets like Body Heat, Sounds...And Stuff Like That!!, and The Dude. Jones' biggest mainstream success, however, came with his work with Michael Jackson; Jones produced his breakout solo album, Off the Wall, in 1979, and in 1982 they teamed up again for Thriller, which went on to become the biggest-selling album of all time. Jones was also on hand for Thriller's follow-up, 1987's Bad, and the celebrated USA for Africa session which produced the benefit single "We Are the World" (written by Jackson and Lionel Richie), and he produced a rare album in which Jackson narrated the story of the film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

Having risen to the heights of the recording industry, in 1985 Jones moved from scoring films to producing them; his first screen project was the screen adaptation of Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple, which was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Whoopi Goldberg. In 1991 he moved into television production with the situation comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which gave Will Smith his first starring role. Jones' production company also launched several other successful shows, including In the House and Mad TV. He also produced a massive concert to help commemorate the 1993 inauguration of president Bill Clinton, and at the 1995 Academy Awards won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, a prize that doubtless found its place beside Quincy's 26 Grammy awards. In 1996 Jones performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival to celebrate his 50th anniversary in the music business. The concert was captured on video and released as a DVD by Eagle Rock. Jones spent the rest of the '90s and first decade of the new century concentrating on his music publishing business and being an "unofficial" cultural ambassador for the United States.

In 2004 he helped to launch the We Are the Future (WAF) project, benefiting children in conflict-inhibited situations all over the globe. The program is the result of a strategic partnership between the Glocal Forum, the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation, and Hani Masri, with the support of the World Bank, UN agencies, and corporations. Jones personally lobbied President Barack Obama to create a secretary of the arts position in his cabinet. He also spent considerable time in Brazil, and in 2009 announced his plans for a film about Carnival and some of the nation's musicians and producers. In 2010 Jones released Q: Soul Bossa Nostra through his Qwest imprint, his first album in 15 years. The set featured appearances by popular vocalists Amy Winehouse, Usher, Tyrese, Tevin Campbell, and LL Cool J, among others. Ludacris and Naturally 7 reprised Jones' 1962 hit "Soul Bossa Nova"; the album's lead single/video was a cover of "Strawberry Letter 23" with lead vocals from Akon. In 2013, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a recipient of the Ahmet Ertegun Award. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Q: Soul Bossa Nostra

1. Ironside

2. Strawberry Letter 23

3. Soul Bossa Nostra

4. Give Me The Night

5. Tomorrow

6. You Put A Move On My Heart

7. Get The Funk Out Of My Face

8. Secret Garden

9. Betcha Wouldn't Hurt Me

10. Everything Must Change

11. Many Rains Ago (Oluwa)

12. PYT (Pretty Young Thing)

13. It's My Party

14. Hikky-Burr

15. Sanford & Son


Track List: Finest Hour

1. Stockholm Sweetnin

2. That Midnight Sun Will Never Set

3. Moanin'

4. G'won Train

5. Blues In The Night

6. Stormy Weather

7. Quintessence

8. Hard Sock Dance

9. For Lena And Lenny

10. Theme From The Pawnbroker

11. Soul Bossa Nova

12. Comin' Home Baby

13. Killer Joe

14. Velas

15. Stuff Like That


Track List: Greatest Hits

1. Killer Joe

2. Gula Matari

3. What's Goin' On

4. Sanford And Son Theme

5. You've Got It Bad Girl

6. Everything Must Change

7. Body Heat

8. If I Ever Lose This Heaven

9. Boogie Joe, The Grinder

10. Is It Love That We're Missing

11. Things Could Be Worse For Me

12. Many Rains Ago

13. Stuff Like That

14. I'm Gonna Miss You In The Morning

15. One Hundred Ways

16. Ai No Corrida

17. Betcha Wouldn't Hurt Me

18. Razzamatazz

19. Just Once


Track List: Q's Jook Joint

1. Jook Joint Intro

2. Let The Good Times Roll

3. Cool Joe, Mean Joe (Killer Joe)

4. You Put A Move On My Heart

5. Rock With You

6. Moody's Mood For Love

7. Stomp

8. Jook Joint Reprise

9. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

10. Is It Love That We're Missin'

11. Heaven's Girl

12. Stuff Like That

13. Slow Jams

14. At The End Of The Day (Grace)

15. Jook Joint Outro


Track List: Walking In Space

1. Dead End

3. Killer Joe

4. Love And Peace

5. I Never Told You

6. Oh, Happy Day


Track List: Body Heat

1. Body Heat

2. Soul Saga

3. Everything Must Change

4. Boogie Joe, The Grinder

5. Reprise: Everything Must Change

6. One Track Mind

7. Just A man

8. Along Came Betty

9. If I Ever Lose This Heaven


Track List: Soul Bossa Nostra (Radio Single)


Track List: Strawberry Letter 23 (Single)


Track List: The Birth Of The Band

1. Syncopated Clock

2. Choo Choo Ch Boogie

3. The Hucklebuck

4. The Midnight Sun Will Never Set

5. The Preacher

6. Marchin The Blues

7. Happy Faces

8. Daylie Double

9. Pleasingly Plump

10. A Parisian Thoroughfare

12. Blues In The Night

14. Moanin'


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Just Once ...... This jam makes you think so much but puts your mind to think better before it's to late but things happen for a reason to we will never understand why but god knows why so make life better not looking back and wondering why move on life to short
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I love this song. I found it by accident a couple of years ago. I always turn it up loud. ♡♡♡
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Now this is music.. Real L O V E music.. And baby making to.. :)
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I love this song and everybody it singing it
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James Ingram is singing - it came out on Quincy's album. BUT it is James Ingram. Pandora please give the dude his props.
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How gifted can one person be! God Bless you for sharing your passion with us for so many years! Thank you...thank you...thank you! ❤️
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The Greatest Composer ever lived. Thank you, for your Love & Dedication to the Music Industry.
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Say I phone five times
Post on five different songs
Look under your pillow
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The Best
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Im so waiting on such a man to c*m in my life like him...
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Everything he touches turn to gold. The "CHI"! All day long. And nite. Thanks for all your gifts and please don't stop. Q-Man.
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You are the best the best performance in the world I just love all your music I want to say thank you good you are genius may God bless you and God keep you do what you do best thank you
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For Q to gave come up this collaboratio n of singers is Just Genius!!
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bryanrollins 2 0 0 1
That's James Ingram singing, isn't it?
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A life fully lived. Thank you Quincy.
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Applause.... . .
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The big q.
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Sure ur right!
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Now how did I do that don't have move,just like you from the start;look into those big beautiful eye's and you stole my heart sweetie.
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Quincy Jones is a musical genius!
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Wait this is my man James Ingram not Q. Still, my fave R&B hit from the 80s.
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Jook joint album is my medicine, that album had many oldschool artist
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Loved the movie
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Ok, the s oop on this song if memory serves is this is how a man with ego and knows he's all that and then some walks intoa room.
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Q's JOOK JOINT---had to download it on my iPhone 5--had to listen to it at least once every weekend. But now I have an Android, could not transfer it, so I'll You Tube it ---gotta have it !!!! Addictive cassette (Yes, I have it on a cassette) !!! Chi Town is my home town also--Q The Dude will be in my heart in his own spot !!! LUV U Q !!!!!!
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I agree just slow jam lights down windown baby loving , kisses all night make love surrounded by candle light honey you driving me crazy with all that sexiness baby bring the fireworks.
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100 ways to love you,I just one way whole heartily,in my nothing I wouldn't do,limitless baby.
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Yes, I agree, amazing talent and this collaboratio n is going to be an unexpected addition to my Labor Day soundtrack!
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Mr Q, is one of the most talented person God has created, his music is heaven sent, with so many different musical varieties to feast on, Outstanding, may God bless you , keep on keeping on with the music we all love and enjoying listening to
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Best collaboratio n of musicians ever.
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Love this song I must say let a few get aways
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I put move on your baby you reach in and grab hold of seal it shut nobody has that key but you
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Secret Garden...... . s e x y song still makes me smile and all giddy!! lol
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I put on your heart....Noo o o o o o o ! b a b y girl the moment you enter my life heaven song, there she go, the one and only and I knew you was that one diamond that shine and set sparks was you lady.
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Every time I hear this song ,I makes me feel good !
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Quincy , can you please just stop ? No, this guy originate from "CHICAGO ". Do I need to say anymore ? No, so, I, won't , - "CHICAGO" #1 . Great place give birth to great people in a lot of Areas ------- ! Killer Joe don't you go-please Joe.
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The. Real. Thing!!!!!
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The Secret Garden is one of the greatest love songs ever The DUDE.
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This is REAL music!! Baby Face and Tamia sound wonderful together.
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This is James Ingram singing this song. QJ produced it.
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You no my secret
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It puts me in a mood
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Best song
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Note Both Quincy Jones AND James Ingram recorded ' Just Once '
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Yes it is. Still. Stuff like. That. Thank. Q
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