Still under thirty, Quincy Jones has been making a name for himself in the music industry as a soloist, composer and arranging music for some of the top stars in the business. Quincy had huge success on the silver screen and his work on the emerging television top shows was to follow.
For those of you who watched television in the 70s, the show Ironside was one of the most popular dramas on both sides of the Atlantic. Running from 1967 to 1975 its distinctive theme music is still very recognisable today. This was the first time that a theme song was synthesizer based.
Quincy also composed the theme tunes for Sanford and Son, and The Bill Cosby Show.
Behind the scenes Quincy was also beginning to make his mark as a social activist and was a firm supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. In particular Operation Breadbasket which was aimed at promoting economic development in the inner cities. After Dr. King’s death in Memphis on April 4th 1968, Quincy served on the board of Reverend Jesse Jackson’s People United to Save Humanity.
In 1969 at age 36, he signed a contract as a recording artist with A&M records and won a Grammy for best jazz instrumental on his first album with the label, Walking in Space.
Whilst he may have been up there with the stars of the music industry, Quincy Jones was also on his way to the moon. In the July of 1969 his arrangement of Frank Sinatra’s recording of Fly Me to the Moon with the Count Basie orchestra was the first music played by Buzz Aldrin on the first lunar landing mission.
The Grammy nominations continued with Quincy being nominated in 1970 for Best Original Score for The Lost Man and MacKenna’s Gold, in 1971 for Best instrumental arrangement, composition and Jazz performance for the album Gula Matari. In 1972 Quincy was nominated and won the award for Best Pop Instrumental performance for the album Smackwater Jack.
In 1971 Quincy was the first African American to be named as musical director and conductor of the Academy Awards ceremony. This appointment illustrated the impact his promotion of appreciation of African-American music and culture was having on the industry. He helped establish the IBAM (Institute for Black American Music and proceeds from events were donated toward the establishment of the Annual Black Arts Festival in Chicago.
One of the major projects of the IBAM was the CBS television special co-produced by Quincy in 1973. Duke Ellington, We Love You Madly featured performers such as Aretha Franklin, Peggy Lee and Count Basie with Quincy Jones leading the 48 strong orchestra.
His next Grammy win was for the best instrumental arrangement for the track Summer In The City in 1973.
His career had been intense and also very exhausting and in 1973 Quincy decided to take a break from producing sound tracks for Hollywood and take explore a new direction in his music.
One of the areas that Quincy had not yet showcased his talent was as a vocalist, and in 1973 he debuted his voice on You’ve Got it Bad with Valerie Simpson. The song stayed at the top of the charts for most of the summer
The follow up album in 1974, Body Heat sold over a million copies, staying in the top five in the charts for over six months. Hit songs from the album included Everything Must Change and If I Ever Lose This Heaven.
This title was a little too prophetic as in the August of 1974 Quincy Jones at just 41 years old suffered a near-fatal cerebral aneurysm. Over the next six months he underwent two very delicate operations to repair the blood vessels in his brain and recuperation.
Thankfully following this, Quincy was back at work and concluded his contract with A & M records with the albums Mellow Madness, I Heard That and The Dude.
Taking more control of his recording commitments was achieved by the founding of Qwest Productions in 1975. He continued to arrange and produce with singers such as Frank Sinatra and in 1977 wrote the score for the iconic mini-series Roots.
In 1978 he produced the soundtrack for The Wiz, the musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. Here is Everybody Rejoice to end this part of the Quincy Jones story and his return to full recovery.
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Next time… Quincy Jones and the 1980s
About William Price King
William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.
William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area. His album ‘Home’ is available to download and he is currently working on his new album available later in 2015.
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
You can find the previous post for Quincy Jones and the other series including Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Sir George Shearing in this directory.
We both would be very appreciative if you could leave a comment and share this new series on social media – Twitter and FB in particular. Many thanks Sally and William.