Quincy Jones’ career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, television producer, record company executive, magazine founder, keynote speaker and multi-media entrepreneur.
Celebrating more than 50 years of performing and being involved in music, Jones’ creative magic consists of a seemingly endless series of firsts. In the mid-1950s, he was the first popular conductor-arranger to record with a Fender bass. His theme from the hit television series Ironside was the first synthesizer-based pop theme song. As the first black composer to be embraced by the Hollywood establishment in the 60s, he helped refresh movie music with badly needed infusions of jazz and soul. His landmark 1989 album, Back On The Block – named Album Of The Year at the 1990 Grammy Awards – brought such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Miles Davis together with Ice-T, Big Daddy Kane and Melle Mel to create the first fusion of the bebop and hip-hop musical traditions. As producer and conductor of the historic “We Are The World” recording (the best-selling single of all time) and Michael Jackson’s multi-platinum solo albums, Off The Wall, Bad, and Thriller (the best-selling album of all time, with over 46 million copies sold), Jones stands as one of the most successful and admired creative artist/executives in the entertainment world.
His 1995 recording, “Q’s Jook Joint,” again showcased Jones’ ability to mold the unique talents of an eclectic group of singers and musicians, and resulted in a retrospective of his diverse career from seasoned Jazz musician to skilled composer, arranger, and bandleader, to acclaimed record producer.
Jones won the first of his many Grammy’s in 1963 for his Count Basie arrangement of “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” His three-year musical association as conductor and arranger with Frank Sinatra in the mid-1960s also teamed him with Basie for the classic Sinatra At The Sands, containing the famous arrangement of “Fly Me To The Moon,” the first recording played by astronaut Buzz Aldrin when he landed upon the moon’s surface in 1969. When Jones became vice president at Mercury Records in 1961, he became the first high level black executive of a major record company. Toward the end of his association with the label, Jones turned his attention to another musical area that had been closed to blacks: the world of film scores. In 1963, he started work on the music for Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker, the first of his 33 major motion picture scores. In 1985, he coproduced Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which won 11 Oscar nominations, introduced Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey to film audiences, and marked Jones’ debut as a film producer. In 1991, as executive producer, he helped launch NBC’s hit series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
In 1990, Jones formed Quincy Jones Entertainment (QJE), a co-venture with Time Warner, Inc. The new company, for which Jones served as CEO and chairman, had a broad ranging, multi-media agenda which encompassed programming for current and future technologies, including theatrical motion pictures and network, cable, and syndicated television.
Jones’ work ethic has garnered the prolific impresario many accolades. He’s won an Emmy Award for his score of the opening episode of the landmark television miniseries Roots, seven Oscar nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, 27 Grammy Awards, N.A.R.A.S.’ prestigious Trustees’ Award, and The Grammy Living Legend Award. He is the all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of 79 nominations. In 1990, France recognized Jones with its most distinguished title, the Legion d’ Honneur. He is also the recipient of the French Ministry of Culture’s Distinguished Arts and Letters Award. Jones was awarded the Royal Swedish Academy of Music’s coveted Polar Music Prize, and the Republic of Italy’s Rudolph Valentino Award. For his contributions to the cultural fabric of the United States of America, he was named a 2001 Kennedy Center Honoree.
In 1990, Jones’ life and career were chronicled in the critically acclaimed Warner Bros. film, Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones, which helped illuminate not only Jones’ life and spirit, but also revealed much about the development of the African American musical tradition.
In 2001, Jones added “best-selling author” to his list of accomplishments when his book Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones appeared on The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. The critically acclaimed biography retells Jones’ life story from his days as an impoverished youth on the Southside of Chicago through a massively impressive career in music, film, and television, where he worked beside legends such as Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Michael Jackson, among many others.
Jones recently designed the N90Q headphones, which are state of the art, flagship level headphones that represent the ultimate in acoustic performance and audio customization.
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Please Note: All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Quincy Jones for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Quincy Jones speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.
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