The Dude

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    The only correct answer for what Q represents in terms of Black history is Quincy Jones. The man has conquered every aspect of the arts, from music to movies to television to publishing. He is a one man institution whose work has touched the lives of people across the globe, in one way or another. He has been nominated for 80 Grammy Awards and won 30, making him second on the all time winners list. Today, we pay tribute to the legend that is Mr. Quincy Jones.

Day 17 - Q is for Quincy Jones

Music

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     1956. Jones released This Is How I Feel About Jazz, his first album under his own name as arranger and conductor.

     

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    1963. 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.  

     

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     1989. Releases Back on the Block, containing the R&B classicss

    Tomorrow by Tevin Campbell, and The Secret Garden featuring James Ingram, El DeBarge, Al B. Sure and Barry White.

Movies

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    1978. Produced the soundtrack for the musical adaptation of The Wizard of OzThe Wiz, starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

     

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    1997. The film Austin Powers is released, featuring that quirky theme song, a 1962 Quincy Jones composition, Soul Bossa Nova.

     

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    2005. Composed music for the 50 Cent film, saying, "Well, I came up almost the same way 50 Cent came up. I identified with a lot of the stuff he was going with, and so it wasn't a reach."

Television

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    1973. Recorded the theme song to the TV show Sanford and Son, actual song title The Streetbeater.

     

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    1977. Composed the music for the groundbreaking TV miniseries Roots.

     

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     1990. Co-produced The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Quincy handed Will Smith a script and told him to memorize it in 10 minutes and to audition it in front of all the people at his house. The rest is history.

Q.

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    Quincy Delight Jones, Jr., known to his friends as “Q,” was born on Chicago’s South Side in 1933. When he was ten he moved, with his father and stepmother, to Bremerton, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. He first fell in love with music when he was in elementary school, and tried nearly all the instruments in his school band before settling on the trumpet. While barely in his teens, Quincy befriended a local singer-pianist, only three years his senior. His name was Ray Charles. The two youths formed a combo, eventually landing small club and wedding gigs.

     

    "Ray Charles and I started together, like at 14 and 16, and in those days, they had all--and you had to play everything to schottisches to rhythm and blues and strip music and pop music. You had to play everything--Sousa and so we started out that way, you know, at 12, 13, 14 years old. We played every kind of music. We played with Billie Holiday when she came through. We had a band. And Billy Eckstine came through, Cab Calloway or whatever, and we had singing group and we used to do comedy, and it was--we had a lot of fun then, a lot of fun."

     

    A Quincy Jones Timeline


    1951. At age 18. his career began when he played trumpet and arranged for Lionel Hampton (1951-1953) and then worked as a freelance arranger on many jazz sessions. 

     

    1960. Jones formed his own big band, with 18 artists — plus their families — in tow. European and American concerts met enthusiastic audiences and sparkling reviews, but concert earnings could not support a band of this size, and the band dissolved.

     

    1964. Named a vice president of Mercury Records, the first African American to hold such an executive position in a white-owned record company. Also scored his first film, The Pawnbroker. His film credits in the next five years included In Cold Blood and In the Heat of the Night. To date he has written scores for 33 major motion pictures.

     

    1973. Co-produced the CBS television special Duke Ellington, We Love You Madly. This program featured such performers as Sarah Vaughan, Aretha Franklin, Peggy Lee, Count Basie and Joe Williams performing Ellington’s music. Jones himself led the orchestra. 

     

    1974. Jones suffered a near-fatal cerebral aneurysm — the bursting of blood vessels leading to the brain. After two delicate operations, and six months of recuperation, Quincy Jones was back at work with his dedication renewed. Also, his album Body Heat, sold over a million copies and stayed in the top five on the charts for six months.

     

    1978. Produced the soundtrack for the musical adaptation of The Wizard of OzThe Wiz, starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

     

    1982. Teamed with Michael Jackson to produce Thriller, the bestselling album of all time, selling over 66 million copies around the globe and spawning an unprecedented six Top Ten singles, including “Billie Jean,” “Beat It” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

     

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    1985. Co-produced Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The film won 11 Oscar nominations and introduced Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey to movie audiences.

     

    1985. We Are the World is recorded. This was a benefit single for victims of famine in Africa. It raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries. Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song, and Jones produced it. Quincy was responsible for managing the egos of all the stars. Most of the singers knew Jones personally and respected his wishes that they check their egos at the door. The song won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

     

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    1990. His life and career were chronicled in the critically acclaimed Warner Bros. film Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones.

     

    2001. Published Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones. A richly illustrated volume of reflections on his life and career, The Complete Quincy Jones: My Journey & Passions, followed in 2008.

     

    2013. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

     

    2018. Was the subject of a feature-length documentary on his life and work — Quincy. Distributed by Netflix.

     

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