Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones

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9780743500609: Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones

Musician, composer, producer, arranger, and pioneering entrepreneur Quincy Jones has lived large and worked for five decades alongside the superstars of music and entertainment. Q is his moving life story, passion, and no-holds-barred honesty that are his trademarks.

Quincy Jones grew up poor on the mean streets of Chicago's South Side, brushing against the law and feeling the pain of his mother's descent into madness. But when his father moved the family west to Seattle, he took up the trumpet and was literally saved by music. Quincy's string of unbroken triumphs in the entertainment industry has been shadowed by a turbulent paersonal life, a story he shares with eloquence and candor.

Q is an impressive self-portrait by one of the master makers of American culture that features vivid testimony from key witnesses to his journey, including:

Clarence Avant · Buddy Catlett · Lucy Jackson read by Rhonda Campbell · Jeri Jones · Kidada Jones · Lloyd Jones read by Marlon Jones · Quincy Jones III · Rashida Jones · Peggy Lipton · Melle Mel · Jerome Richardson read by Jimmy Cleveland · Clark Terry · Bobby Tucker

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Review:

He reached an apogee of fame in the mid-1980s as the producer-arranger of Michael Jackson's blockbuster album Thriller and the charity single "We Are the World," but Quincy Jones has been a force in American music since he was a teenager. He swung hard enough to play with beboppers like Dizzy Gillespie; he studied composition with the legendary Nadia Boulanger; he scored dozens of films and TV shows; he arranged and/or produced albums for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Leslie Gore, and rappers like Melle Mel don't disdain the old man either. Looking back at age 68 in a good-natured autobiography supplemented with brief chapters by such friends as Ray Charles and ex-wife Peggy Lipton, Jones asserts, "I've been driven all my life by a spirit of adventure and a criminal level of optimism." Given his beginnings, growing up poor in Chicago and Seattle with a mentally ill mother lurking in the background, that's quite an achievement. Jones never stood still long enough to let sorrow catch him, and though his treatment of his personal life is standard Hollywood glib ("Though Nastassja [Kinski]'s and my relationship as a couple was not destined to last, she is a great friend"), his prose catches fire when it touches on music: Dinah Washington "could take the melody in her hand, hold it like an egg, crack it open, fry it, let it sizzle, reconstruct it, put the egg back in the box and back in the refrigerator, and you would've still understood every single syllable." His furious energy may have been fueled by personal demons, but his joyous sweep through a half century of American pop convinces you that Jones was right to keep moving: "Nothing is ever wrong if it's going someplace," he asserts. "Music is about ever-changing." --Wendy Smith

From the Inside Flap:

Musician, composer, producer, arranger, and pioneering entrepreneur Quincy Jones has lived large and worked for five decades alongside the superstars of music and entertainment -- including Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Ray Charles, Will Smith, and dozens of others. Q is his glittering and moving life story, told with the style, passion, and no-holds-barred honesty that are his trademarks.

Quincy Jones grew up poor on the mean streets of Chicago?s South Side, brushing against the law and feeling the pain of his mother?s descent into madness. But when his father moved the family west to Seattle, he took up the trumpet and was literally saved by music. A prodigy, he played backup for Billie Holiday and toured the world with the Lionel Hampton Band before leaving his teens. Soon, though, he found his true calling, inaugurating a career whose highlights have included arranging albums for Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, and Count Basie; composing the scores of such films as The Pawnbroker, In Cold Blood, In the Heat of the Night, and The Color Purple, and the theme songs for the television shows Ironside, Sanford and Son, and The Cosby Show; producing the bestselling album of all time, Michael Jackson?s Thriller, and the bestselling single ?We Are the World?; and producing and arranging his own highly praised albums, including the Grammy Award?winning Back on the Block, a striking blend of jazz, African, urban, gospel, and hip-hop. His musical achievements, in a career that spans every style of American popular music, have yielded an incredible seventy-seven Grammy nominations, and are matched by his record as a pioneering music executive, film and television producer, tireless social activist, and business entrepreneur?one of the most successful black business figures in America. This string of unbroken triumphs in the entertainment industry has been shadowed by a turbulent personal life, a story he shares with eloquence and candor.

Q
is an impressive self-portrait by one of the master makers of American culture, a complex, many-faceted man with far more than his share of talents and an unparalleled vision, as well as some entirely human flaws. It also features vivid testimony from key witnesses to his journey?family, friends, and musical and business associates. His life encompasses an astonishing cast of show business giants, and provides the raw material for one of the great African American success stories of this century.

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