About Quincy JonesREG had the pleasure of working with Quincy Jones at the Blues Foundation Lifetime Achievement Awards at the House of Blues in 1998.
In a musical career that has spanned six 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. Outside of music, he's written books, produced major motion pictures, and helped create television series.
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.
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 (now known as the Berklee School of Music). After a year there, 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 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. 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.
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.
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. In 1964, Jones's work with Count Basie led him to arrange and conduct sessions for Frank Sinatra's album It Might as Well Be Swing. 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.
He remains one of the most influential, powerful, and talented men in modern music.