On the Horizon │Quincy Jones: His Life in Music

Today's Music Monday post puts the spotlight on Quincy Jones: His Life in Music. This forthcoming biography by Clarence Bernard Henry focuses on the musical experiences and career of one of the most influential creators and talents of the 20th century. This book will be available in October (available now for preview from NetGalley). 

Quincy Jones (b. 1933) is one of the most prolific composers, arrangers, bandleaders, producers, and humanitarians in American music history, and the recording and film industries. Among pop music fans he is perhaps most famous for producing Michael Jackson’s album, Thriller.  In this volume Henry focuses on the life, music, career, and legacy of Jones within the social, cultural, historical, and artistic context of American, African American, popular, and world music traditions.

Jones’s career has spanned over sixty years, generating a substantial body of work with over five hundred compositions and arrangements. The author focuses on this material as well as many of Jones’s accomplishments: performing as a young trumpeter in the bands of Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie, becoming the first African American to hold an executive position in the competitive white-owned recording industry, breaking racial barriers as a composer in the Hollywood film and television industries, producing the best-selling album of all time, and receiving numerous Grammy Awards.

The author also discusses many of Jones’s compositions, arrangements, and recordings and his compositional study in France with legendary teacher Nadia Boulanger. In addition, details are provided about Jones’s distinct ability as one of the most innovative composers and arrangers of incorporating many different styles of music, techniques, and creative ideas in his compositions, arrangements and film scores, and in his collaborations with an array of musicians and groups such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Frank Sinatra, Clifford Brown, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, USA for Africa, and many others. 

Quincy Jones: His Life in Music shows how Jones has, throughout his career, wholeheartedly embraced philosophies of globalization and cultural diversity in his body of work, collaborations, humanitarian projects, and musical creativity. 

Below is the video for "We Are the World" a song and charity sings originally recorded by the supergrop USA for Africa in 1985 and produced by Jones. A worldwide commercial success, the song topped music charts throughout the world and became the fastest-selling American pop single in history.