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Quincy Jones arrived on the music scene of the fifties and sixties, when the big band era was well past its prime.  However, Quincy’s  remarkable talents as an orchestra conductor, musical arranger, composer and record producer earn him a place in any Big band hall of fame.

During his rich career, Jones received a record 79 nominations for Grammy awards, as well as being the producer and arranger of probably the best selling album of all time, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” which sold more than one hundred million copies.

 

 

Born in Chicago in 1933 to a family who were holding their own better than many during the tough years of the depression, young Quincy showed a natural aptitude for music from an early age, with a particular fondness for the trumpet.

When he was ten years old, the Jones family transferred themselves to Washington State, and it was there, in the city of Seattle that Quincy met a blind, talented piano player by the name of Ray Charles. Charles was then just 17 years old and Jones 14. The pair found  a common language in their love of music and remained firm friends all of their lives.

 

In the early nineteen fifties, Jones joined up with the Lionel Hampton band as their trumpeter as well as continuing to polish his fast developing skills as a musical arranger.  He would supplement his income as well as reputation by working as a freelance musical arranger, first of all for his friend Ray Charles and later, as word spread of his talents, working  with such stars of the era as Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Gene Krupa, Count Basie and the “Duke” Ellington.

 

Quincy Jones had a rare talent as a trumpeter, and by the time he was in his early twenties,  was signed up to join  the brass section of the Dizzy Gillespie band. Quincy  contributed greatly to the band’s success by contributing  his already well developed musical arrangement skills to help Dizzy lay out some of the band’s scores.

In 1957, Quincy tired and frustrated  of the racial tensions that haunted the jazz music scene in America in the late fifties, moved to Paris, France to enjoy the more liberal atmosphere there as well as to study music composition. Jones was fortunate (or unfortunate as it turned out) to be appointed  as music director for a jazz musical” Free and Easy”.

Inspired by his success with the musical,  Quincy Jones had the idea of establishing a band of his own, from the nucleus of the band that he had worked with so successfully on Free and Easy and take to the road. Quincy’s band performed to tremendous critical acclaim all over Europe. Quincy, by then in his late twenties, recalls learning a valuable but expensive lesson- that applause doesn’t pay the bills. They band folded early in 1960, and Jones was on his way backing Stateside with his tail between his legs.

 

Mercury Records, with whom he previously worked,  welcomed Jones back with open arms, and the money that he earned there helped  Quincy to settle the considerable debts that he had incurred in Europe.

Jones repaid the trust paid by Mercury and their then  head Irving Green working first as their musical and later climbing the corporate ladder to become  vice-president of  the company, making the first African-American to hold such a vaunted  position in a  “ white label” record company.

Throughout the rest of his career in music Jones worked behind the scenes, only occasionally fronting a band, and always in the studio. After turning down numerous offers, Quincy eventually branched out on his own, firstly i composing soundtracks for some of the finest movies to hit the screens in the seventies and eighties as well as working as musical arranger for some of the music industry’s leading stars from Frank Sinatra to Michel Jackson. 

 

 

Now in his early eighties, Quincy Jones remains an active figure  on the music scene.

Bandleaders of the Century invite you to browse though the links of  Quncy Jones' cover version of many of the music standards of the twentieth century.

 

   
       
  Blues in the Night Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Bossa Nova USA Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Caravan Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Cast your Fate to the Wind Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Comin' Home, Baby Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Falling in Love With Love Listen to this song on You Tube  
  First Time Ever I Saw Your Face Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Jazz Samba Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Liza Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Lover Come Back to Me Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Pink Panther Theme Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Pogo Stick Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Quintessence Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Red Wails in the Sunset Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Round About Midnight Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Sometimes I'm Happy Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Stockholm Sweetin' Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Strike up the Band Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Summer in the City Listen to this song on You Tube  
  Take Five Listen to this song on You Tube  
  The " In " Crowd Listen to this song on You Tube