Quincy Delight Jones, Jr is a renowned American record producer, composer, arranger, conductor, musician, film producer, magazine founder and actor. Popularly known as, ‘Q’, Jones left studies midway and decided to go on a music tour with a band as a trumpeter and that is how his professional music career started. The multi-faceted artist holds a record of 79 ‘Grammy Award’ nominations. He has bagged 28 ‘Grammys’ that includes the ‘Grammy Legend Award’ in his career that spans six decades. He has significantly contributed in the pop music and film scores as well. He was named as the conductor and musical director of the ‘Academy Awards’ ceremony in 1971, becoming the first African-American to receive such honor. Jones\' music has been highly successful and topped all charts. He worked with Michael Jackson on his albums like ‘Thriller’, ‘Bad’ and ‘Off The Wall’. One of the most influential jazz musicians of all time, Jones has shared pearls of wisdom on subjects closed to his heart through his songs, music, work and life. Here is a compilation of quotes and thoughts by Quincy Jones that are sure to make your heart sing.
Playing the game, and unfortunately, playing the gangster game is very profitable.
I lost my mother when I was 7 and they put her in a mental hospital. My brother and I watched her being taken away in a strait jacket. That's something you never forget. And my stepmother was like in the movie 'Precious.' I couldn't handle it. So I said to myself, 'I don't have a mother. I don't need one. I'm going to let music be my mother.'
I tell my kids and I tell proteges, always have humility when you create and grace when you succeed, because it's not about you. You are a terminal for a higher power. As soon as you accept that, you can do it forever.
I believe that a hundred years from now, when people look back at the 20th century, they will look at Miles, Bird, Clifford Brown, Ella and Dizzy, among elders as our Mozarts, our Chopins, our Bachs and Beethovens.
To me it's no accident that all the symphony orchestras around the world tune up to the note A. And A is 440 cycles, except in Germany where it's 444. But the universe is 450 cycles. So what I'm trying to say is, I think it's God's voice, melody especially. Counterpoint, retrograde inversion, harmony... that's the science and the craft.
I've never been bored in my life, man. I've never been bored or lonely. Are you kidding? No way! I'm an orchestrator, a musician, a producer. I love everything. I've studied languages from Farsi to Greek to French, Swedish, Russian... How can you get bored?
Melody is king, and don't you ever forget it. Lyrics appear to be out front, but they're not; they're just an accompanying factor. If they're good, you're really in good shape. Lyrics are written to be rewritten.
Everybody, no matter what vocation they're looking at, should add music as an essential to their curriculum. Music can be a very important part of your soul and your growth as a human being. It's so powerful.
Frank Sinatra took me to a whole new planet. I worked with him until he passed away in '98. He left me his ring. I never take it off. Now, when I go to Sicily, I don't need a passport. I just flash my ring.
It's easy to get next to music theory, especially between your peers and music classes and so forth. You just pay attention. I had a good ear, so I realized that printed music was just about reminding you what to play.
It slaps your dignity just right. I loved the idea of these proud, dignified black men, and I saw the older ones wounded, and it wounded me ten times as much because I couldn't stand seeing them hurt like this.
My father was a carpenter, a very good carpenter. He also worked for the Jones boys. They were not family members, we weren't related at all. They started the policy racket in Chicago, and they had the five and dime store.
I only hope that one day, America will recognize what the rest of the world already has known, that our indigenous music - gospel, blues, jazz and R&B - is the heart and soul of all popular music; and that we cannot afford to let this legacy slip into obscurity, I'm telling you.
Without the Fender bass, there'd be no rock n' roll or no Motown. The electric guitar had been waiting 'round since 1939 for a nice partner to come along. It became an electric rhythm section, and that changed everything.
I'm probably the only one in the world you can name that's worked with Billie Holiday, Louie Armstrong, Ella, Duke, Miles, Dizzy, Ray Charles, Aretha, Michael Jackson, rappers. 'Fly Me to the Moon' was played on the moon by Buzz Aldrin. Sinatra. Paul Simon. Tony Bennett. I'm the only one.
I didn't understand key signatures or anything, you know. I'd say silly things at the top of a trumpet part like, 'Note, when you play B naturals, make the B naturals a half step lower because they sound funny if they're B naturals.' And some guy said: 'Idiot, just put a flat on the third line and it's a key signature, you know?'
I got in the school band and the school choir. It all hit me like a ton of bricks, everything just came out. I played percussion for a while, and stayed after school forever just tinkering around with different things, the clarinets and the violins.
I was inspired by a lot of people when I was young. Every band that came through town, to the theater, or the dance hall. I was at every dance, every night club, listened to every band that came through, because in those days we didn't have MTV, we didn't have television.
Just blow in it and sound bad for about a year and then make it sound a little bit better, and you get a little band together, and then you get a few jobs. You take four guys that sound half bad, but if they're 25 percent each, they can give 100 percent, you know?
We got into all the trouble you could ever imagine. We figured that if the Jones boys and all the gangsters ran Chicago, we had our own territory now. All the stores, all the crime, we were in charge of everything, my stepbrother and my brother.
We were in the heart of the ghetto in Chicago during the Depression, and every block - it was probably the biggest black ghetto in America - every block also is the spawning ground practically for every gangster, black and white, in America too.
After every war, there was a significant change in the music, and I can understand how that happened. If you participate in protecting the country, you think you can be part of it, but you come back home and it's worse than ever.
When I was 13, I started working in a nightclub with Ray Charles. That's the greatest school in the world, the school of the streets. Ray taught me how to read in Braille. He was only two years older than me, but it was like he was 100 years older.
Working with kids in Soweto in South Africa, it's rough out there. But the bottom line is you've got to go to know. In Cambodia, there are 10,000 landmines. Same in Afghanistan, same in Colombia. I'm totally addicted to traveling.
Bebop and hip-hop, in so many ways, they're connected. A lot of rappers remind me so much of bebop guys in terms of improvisation, beats and rhymes. My dream is to see hip-hop incorporated in education. You've got the youth of the world in the palm of your hand.