Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Quincy Jones...

"Happy 79th Birthday"
Quincy Jones...

Considered to be one of the greatest minds in music and television history, Quincy Delight Jones Jr was born on March 14, 1933 in Chicago,Illinois United States. Quincy Delight Jones Jr was born to carpenter, Quincy Delight Jones Sr, and bank executive Sarah Frances.

Quincy Jones found his love for music while he was enrolled in grade school at Seattle's Garfield High School,this is also where he had met Ray Charles whom he later worked and became friends with. In 1951, Quincy Jones had won a scholarship to the Berklee College Of Music in Boston,Massachusetts. Jones however dropped out when he got the opportunity to tour with Lionel Hampton's band as a trumpeter and conductor. Jones also worked for the European production of Harold Arlen's blues opera, Free and Easy in 1959. After Jones had worked on several projects overseas he returned to New York where he composed and arranged, and recorded for artists such as Duke Ellington,Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughan,Count Basie, Dinah Washington,LeVern Baker, and Big Maybell. Jones was working with these artists while holding an executive position at Mercury Records, being one of the very few African Americans at the time to have such a position.

In 1963, Quincy Jones won his first Grammy award for his Count Basie arrangement of "I Can't Stop Loving You". In 1964, by the request of director Sidney Lumet, Jones composed the music for his movie, The Pawnbroker. This would be the first of many Jones composed for film scores. By the mid-1960's Quincy Jones became the conductor and arranger for Frank Sinatra's orchestra. Jones also conducted and arranged one of Sinatra's most memorable songs, Fly Me To The Moon. Jones appeared on a lot of film credits for his music such as The Slender Thread,Walk,Don't Run,In Cold Blood,In The Heat Of The Night, A Dandy In Aspic,Mackenna's Gold,and The Italian Job. In 1972 Quincy Jones was the theme song composer for the hit-sitcom, Sanford And Son.

Quincy Jones in 1978 worked on music for the Wiz, this is where he met icon, Michael Jackson. Jackson at the time was looking for a producer, Jones recommended some producers but in the end asked Jackson if he could do it, Jackson said yes. In 1982 as a result of this partnership, Jones had formed a tapestry with Jackson which was unbreakable it was called, Thriller. The Thriller album sold more than 100 million records world-wide. Jones continued working with Jackson with his Bad album in 1987. However after Jones recommended Jackson seek other producers to update his music. Jones refereed Jackson to producer, Teddy Riley. This ended a partnership between two-greats,Jackson and Jones would never collaborate again.

In 1981 Jones had an album called, The Dude. In 1985 Jones scored the film adaptation of The Color Purple. Jones also was a philanthropist, in 1985 gathering multiple stars to participate in the song We Are The World to help raise money to help the victims of the Ethopian disaster.

In 1990 Jones composed a theme song for the new sitcom which was centered around Will Smith, The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. Jones was also the executive producer of the show.

Quincy Jones will forever be remembered as someone who helped sculpt music in every form, he refined music and through the music he helped sculpt brought messages of peace,justice,love,funk,and hope.

-Quincy Jones as quoted on the making of "Thriller"
The making of Thriller in a little more than two months was like riding a rocket. Everything about it was done at hyperspeed. Rod Temperton, who also co-wrote several of the album's songs, and I listened to nearly 600 songs before picking out a dozen we liked. Rod would then submit to me about thirty-three of his own songs on totally complete demos with bass lines, counter lines, and all, recorded on the Temperton high-tech system of bouncing the sound of two cassette recordings between ghetto blasters, and ten to twenty-five alternate titles for each song, with the beginnings of lyric schemes. He was absolutely the best to work with—always totally prepared, not one drop of b.s. We have always kept it very real with each other, exchanging strong opinions and comments without ever "throwing a wobbly"—British slang for "losing it." He's the kind of warrior you want at your side on the battlefield.
Michael was also writing music like a machine. He could really crank it up. In the time I worked with him he wrote three of the songs on Off the Wall, four on Thriller, and six on Bad. At this point on Thriller I'd been bugging him for months to write a Michael Jackson version of "My Sharona." One day I went to his house and said, "Smelly, give it up. The train is leaving the station." He said, "Quincy, I got this thing I want you to hear, but it's not finished yet. I don't have any vocals on it."

I called Michael "Smelly" because when he liked a piece of music or a certain beat, instead of calling it funky, he'd call it "smelly jelly." When it was really good, he'd say, "That's some smelly jelly." I said, "Smelly, it's getting late. Let's do it."

I took him to the studio inside his house. He called his engineer and we stacked the vocals on then and there. Michael sang his heart out. The song was "Beat It."

We knew the music was hot. On "Beat It" the level was literally so hot that at one point in the studio Bruce Swedien called us over and the right speaker burst into flames. We'd never seen anything like that in forty years in the business. That was the first time I began to see the wildness that was in Michael's life during the Thriller sessions. One time we were working in the Westlake studio and a healthy California girl walked by the front window of the studio, which was a one-way mirror facing the street, and pulled her dress up over her head. She was wearing absolutely nothing underneath. Rod and Bruce and I got an eyeful. It was right on time in the middle of intense deadline pressure. We stood there gawking. We turned around and saw Michael, devoted Jehovah's Witness that he was, hiding behind the console.

We did the final mixes and fixes and overdubs up until nine o'clock in the morning of the deadline for the reference copy. We had three studios going at once. We put final touches on Michael's vocals on "Billie Jean," which he sang through six-foot cardboard tubes. Then Bruce put his magic on the final overdub of Ndugu Chancler's live drums, replacing the drum machine. I took Eddie Van Halen to another small studio with two huge Gibson speakers and two six-packs of beer to do his classic guitar solo, dubbing the bass line on "Beat It" with Greg on mini Moog. Bruce liked to record our rhythm tracks on sixteen-track tape, then go to digital to get that fat, analog rhythm sound that we all loved and called "big legs and tight skirts." He left witht he tape to go to Bernie Grundman's studio to master the record: Bernie's the absolute best in the business. In the meantime I took Michael to my place, laid him out on the couch in my den, and covered him with a blanket for a three-hour nap at 9 a.m. By twelve o'clock we had to be back to hear the test pressing that was going out to the world. I couldn'd sleep myself; the anticipation was tremendous. We'd all worked ourselves into a near-frenzy. Meanwhile, back at the studio, Larkin Arnold, the head honcho of black music at Epic, was popping champagne, anxiously waiting to hear the final mix.

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