Black Music Month: Quincy Jones

June is Black Music Month and WERS at Night will recognize black musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters who have made enormous contributions to the music industry. Today, June 10th, Secret Spot is highlighting Quincy Jones.

Quincy Jones, also known as Quincy Delight Jones Jr., has been in the music industry for fifty plus years as a musician, composer, and songwriter. Jones was born on March 14, 1933 in Chicago. His mother Sarah Frances was a manager and bank teller and his father Quincy Delight Jones, Sr. was a semi professional baseball player and carpenter. While he was in school, Jones discovered his passion for music when he started to play the trumpet. When Jones was ten though, he and his family moved to Bremerton, Washington and when he was fourteen, he met Ray Charles (who was then seventeen). When Jones graduated from high school, he continued to pursue music on a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music here in, Boston. When he received a deal to play trumpet on tour with Lionel Hampton, Jones decided to drop out of college. After being on tour with Hampton, Jones moved to New York where he started to work with artists such as Sarah Vaughan, Duke Ellington, and Ray Charles. In 1956, Jones toured again with Dizzy Gillespie where he traveled to the Middle East and South America.

When he returned to the states, he received a contract with ABC-Paramount records and started his own recording career. One year later, Qunicy decided to move to Paris to study composition and theory. Throughout the 50s, Jones studied throughout Europe and also became the musical director of Mystic Records. 1960, Jones accomplished so much that he became vice-president of Mystic Records (and was also the first African American to hold a position in a white-owned label). In 1963, Jones won his first Grammy for his song “I Can’t Stop Loving You”.

He also started to have a passion for film scoring, composing the music for Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker. Eventually, Jones decided it would be best to move to Los Angeles to continue his career in music after doing film scores for multiple movies such as: The Italian Job, The Lost Man, and the huge sitcom Sanford and Son. He started to compose for more and more movies and artists, becoming a well known name in the music and film industry. In 1981, when Jones released The Dude. He has multiple singles and in 1985 Jones worked with the famous Steven Spielberg on The Color Purple. In 1990, Jones opened his own label Quincy Jones Entertainment serving as CEO. The label owned Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, In The House, and Mad TV. Not only was Jones CEO of his own label but he was publisher of Vibe Magazine. In 1996, Jones was executive producer of the 68th Annual Academy Awards. In 1997, Jones formed the Quincy Jones Media Group featuring film projects and movies.

Throughout the 90s, he completed the encyclopedia of African and African-American culture with the help of Harvard University and Microsoft. Also, he started his own broadcasting station raising 270 million dollars. Quincy Jones is known for his music and also many accomplishments as a composer and business man. He has many honorary doctorates from Howard University, Atlanta University, Brandeis University, and Loyola University, just to name a few. In 2001, Jones wrote Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones which won Best Selling Author. The audio recording of his book won his 27th Grammy award. Jones will always be one of the best African American composers, musicians, and producers of his and our time. He continues to inspire and work with artists and aspiring artist, spreading his talent all over the world.

By Nyla Wissa

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