In a career spanning over seven decades, Quincy Jones has earned his reputation as a renaissance man of American music. Since entering the industry as an arranger in the early 1950s, he has distinguished himself as a bandleader, solo artist, sideman, songwriter, producer, film composer, and record label executive. A quick look at a few of the artists he's worked with -- Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Lesley Gore, Michael Jackson, Peggy Lee, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, and Aretha Franklin -- reveals the remarkable diversity of his career. He has been nominated for a record 80 Grammy awards, and has won 27 in categories including Best Instrumental Jazz Performance for "Walking in Space" (1969), Producer of the Year (1981), and Album of the Year for Jackson's Thriller (1983) and his own Back on the Block (1990). Outside recording studios, he has produced major motion pictures, helped create television series, and written books, including Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones (2001). An inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2013), he has continued producing and recording, contributing the song "Keep Reachin'" for the documentary Quincy: A Life Beyond Measure (2018).
This Is How I Feel About Jazz Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 14, 1933. While still a youngster, his family moved to Seattle, Washington 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 when he was added to the brass section of Lionel Hampton's orchestra 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 titled 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, and traveling American artists like Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan. Jones' work for Barclay impressed the management at Mercury Records, an American label affiliated with the French imprint, and in 1961 he was named a vice-president of 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 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.
It Might as Well Be Swing In 1964 work with Count Basie led him to arrange and conduct sessions for Frank Sinatra's album It Might as Well Be Swing, in collaboration with Basie and his orchestra;
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