Quincy Jones

Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. [March 14, 1933] was born in Chicago, but raised primarily in Seattle.  He took up the trumpet in junior high school and by his college years, was performing with Lionel Hampton's band.  In the early 50s, his reputation as an arranger earned him work with artists ranging from Ray Charles, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, to Dinah Washington, Peggy Lee and Cannonball Adderly.  The mid-60s saw the start of a long association as conductor and arranger for Frank Sinatra.

Jones soon branched out into the film and TV world, doing scores for movies including In Cold Blood, In the Heat of the Night and The Color Purple and TV shows like Roots, The Cosby Show and Sanford and Son.  His theme to the TV classic "Ironsides" was the first synthesizer-based theme song.

The 80s were a period of extraordinary commercial and creative success, as he helmed Michael Jackson's Off the Wall, Thriller  and Bad albums, and produced the historic "We Are The World" (the best-selling single of all time).

Music is not Jones' only area of expertise: as executive producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he helped launch the acting career of Will Smith.

Among his numerous accolades, Quincy Jones has earned a record 79 Grammy nominations [with 27 wins]; won Emmys, Oscars, the French Legion of Honor award and is a 2001 Kennedy Center honoree.


  • Jones arrangement of Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon" was the first song played during the Apollo 11 moon landing.

  • He never learned to drive, after being involved in a serious car accident at 14.

  • He discovered 60s pop star Lesley Gore and produced her hit, "It's My Party."

  • He is godfather to singer Patti Austin.

  • He attended Berklee College of Music for one year; his application is displayed there in a glass case.


  • "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."

  • "Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old shared a little of what he is good at doing."

  • "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?"


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