Flashback Fridays: Music Maestro, Quincy Jones

Flashback Fridays: Music Maestro, Quincy Jones
ESSENCE.COM Jun, 10, 2010

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Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. was born on March 14, 1933, in Chicago. Jones picked up the trumpet at an early age and started to play small gigs and weddings with his friend, Ray Charles. He dropped out of Berklee College of Music to hit the road and play under jazz great, Lionel Hampton.

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If you think about it, Quincy Jones has worked with the greatest musicians of the 20th century. His fingerprints can be found on the work of five decades worth of brilliant artists like Duke Ellington (pictured here), Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Mary J. Blige, and countless more.

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As a young artist, Jones toured the world with several jazz legends. By the late-50s, he was arranging for the likes of Sarah Vaughn and Count Basie, living in Paris.

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Quincy Jones has earned a record 79 -yes, 79 - Grammy Award nominations, walked away 27 of them, including a Grammy Legend Award in 1991.

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Quincy Jones met Michael Jackson on the set of “The Wiz,” and went on to produce Jackson’s first solo album “Off the Wall.” The record was a hit, but the two took it to the next level with “Thriller,” which is the bestselling record of all time. The duo returned with “Bad,” which would be their last album together. Those three albums, to many fans, would be the ultimate Jackson recordings of his career.

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One of Jones’ greatest achievements was Michael Jackson’s masterpiece “Thriller.” The album won 7 Grammys in 1984: Album Of The Year, Best Pop Male Vocal, Record Of The Year for “Beat It”, Best Rock Male Vocal for “Beat It”, Best R&B Male Vocal for “Billie Jean”, Best New Song Of The Year also for “Billie Jean,” and Producer Of The Year.

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“We Are the World” was a megahit pulled together by Harry Belafonte, who assigned Jones the task of producing the record and Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie to co-write. All proceeds would benefit African famine relief. The song topped the charts across the globe and became the fastest-selling American pop single ever, as well as the first song to be certified multi-platinum.

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Backstage at the 1986 Grammy awards, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie share the limelight. That year, “We Are the World” received four awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Music Video.

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Jones was involved in projects on both the small and big screens. He won several Academy Awards for his 33 film scores, but his work for Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple” is his most esteemed. His TV work includes such memorable scores as “Roots,” “Sanford and Son,” and “The Bill Cosby Show.” He was also a producer of television shows, such as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

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President-elect Bill Clinton, center, and a throng of stars, including Diana Ross, right of Clinton, and Michael Jackson, left, sing together under the direction of Quincy Jones, during a concert at the Lincoln Memorial, in 1993. The star-studded concert was attended by thousands as Clinton kicked off days of celebration leading up to his inauguration on Wednesday.

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Naomi Campbell and Quincy Jones party like it’s 1999. Campbell has said that Jones is like the father she never had.

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Quincy Jones and Coretta Scott King pose for a picture in 2001. Jones was a supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work in inner cities.

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The two childhood friends celebrate Ray Charles’ 70th birthday party in October of 2000 at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. In March of 2004, Jones presented Charles with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the NAACP Awards. This was Charles’ last public appearance before he passed.

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Liza Minnelli and Quincy Jones attend the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2001, which celebrated MJ’s 30th year as a solo performer.

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Jones has been married three times and has seven children. Here, he hugs daughter and actress Rashida Jones, who he had with Peggy Lipton.

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Quincy Jones parties with Usher at a fundraiser for Usher’s New Look Foundation, which helps give disadvantaged youth a new outlook on life and their future through education and real world experiences.

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On the 25th anniversary of “We Are the World,” a new generation of stars came together to remake the classic, this time to support relief efforts in earthquake-torn Haiti.

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LL Cool J and producer Quincy Jones rehearse during the recording session of “We Are the World 25.”

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Quincy Jones and Bermuda’s Premier Dr. Ewart Brown at the Bermuda Music Festival’s screening of “This Is It,” the film on Jones’ good friend Michael Jackson.

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Quincy Jones, after hearing news of Michael Jackson’s death, released the following statement: “I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words. Divinity brought our souls together on ‘The Wiz’ and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the ‘80s. To this day, the music we created together on ’Off The Wall,’ ‘Thriller’ and ‘Bad’ is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all…talent, grace, professionalism and dedication. He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I’ve lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him.”

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Quincy Jones’ shine has brightened so many lives. His five decades in show business has produced some of the most memorable artifacts of our time — from “The Wiz” to “Thriller” to “We Are the World” to Vibe magazine. Today, we honor his achievements…

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Photo of George JOHNSON and Louis JOHNSON and BROTHERS JOHNSON and Quincy JONES
Caption: UNSPECIFIEDJANUARY 01: STUDIO Photo of George JOHNSON and Louis JOHNSON and BROTHERS JOHNSON and Quincy JONES, L-R: Louis Johnson, Quincy Jones, George Johnson. ! (Photo by Echoes/Redferns)
Date created: 01 Jan 1970

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Musicians Yoko Ono (L) and Quincy Jones appear on stage in support of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus at the 2010 NAMM Show – Day 1 at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 14, 2010 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images for NAMM) * Local Caption * Yoko Ono;Quincy Jones

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