Quincy Jones is the most important musical figure of the second half of the 20th century, but he remains largely unknown outside those who read screen credits and liner notes.
If there was a major musical event since 1950, Quincy was there. Probably.
Ray Charles, the Duke and the Count, Louis and Ella, Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Live Aid and countless film scores … and that’s before you get to Sinatra and Michael Jackson. And The Color Purple. He discovered Will Smith. And Oprah.
The problem with a legacy
The family is obviously trying to establish the pillars of his epic legacy. This is challenging.
Quincy in his own words is fantastically interesting. This comes through in the brilliantly titled GQ article Quincy Jones Has a Story About That.
The essence of this musical giant can barely be contained. There are so many stories to tell. Read the article; it’ll make your life better.
Then there’s the rewrite: the sanitised version of Quincy presented in daughter Rashida’s Netflix biography.
This is the gentle, loving, stubborn Quincy Jones who beat down racial barriers and produced a body of work that will never be rivalled. It is a great story but it’s flat. It feels like every other Hollywood glory story. Preserving the legacy has missed the grit that made the story interesting.
Read GQ and then watch the doco to fill in the gaps. Pity they weren’t combined. It would have provided a fantastic bridge to the great age of American music form one of its truest and most creative pioneers.