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Back on the Block

4.8 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 8, 1989
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 8, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Qwest (Warner)
  • ASIN: B000002LJA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,448 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Quincy Jones Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The 80s were a very busy decade for Quincy Jones. Between 1979 and 1989 he not only produced three hit albums for Michael Jackson, he also produced hit albums for others, including George Benson, Donna Summer, James Ingram, Patti Austin, The Brothers Johnson, Rufus & Chaka Khan and Ernie Watts. In his 1990 documentary "Listen Up", which documents a lot of the making of this particular album, Jones tells of how overwork and exhaustion ultimately led to a nervous breakdown and two separate aneurysms.

By the time he was ready to make this album, which he describes as his project of a lifetime, music was undergoing a revolution. Disco was long dead and buried, hip-hop was emerging as the predominant force and the smooth jazz-influenced beats Jones was reputed for were falling out of favour.

To give him his due he approached the situation gamely. The title tune, "Back On The Block" was a brave kiss with rap if not a particularly wise one. The song, which features big guns of the time such as Melle Mel, Big Daddy Kane, Ice-T and Kool Moe Dee is always fun to listen to but I never heard it played on the radio or at any clubs or parties. "Jazz Corner of The World", his attempt to marry rap with jazz was more interesting and featured jazz luminaries like James Moody, Miles Davis, George Benson, Sarah Vaughn, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Josef Zawinul alongside Kool Moe Dee and Big Daddy Kane. It's heady, exciting stuff to listen to even now, 17 years later. If nothing else, Q certainly knew where music was heading.

The production on this CD is stunning beyond belief. "Wee B. Dooinit", featuring Siedah Garrett, Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau, Ella Fitzgerald, Take 6 and Sarah Vaughn is a completely acapella performance.
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Format: Audio CD
Without a doubt one of the most influencial musicians for the past 50 years as of this writing, Quincy Jones is one of the best musicians that on this planet and remains a great influence on music to this day.

His 1989 magnum opus entitled "Back on The Block" is unrivalled by almost everything else. The sheer number of singers and other stars who came aboard for this project is impressive! Starring a huge cast of old-time singers some of whom have sadly since passed away, rappers, and then yet-to-be pop stars this incredible masterpiece is without a doubt a contender for being one of the smartest, most creative, and energetic albums anyone has ever put out. While I don't want to sound too biased with this review but "Back On The Block" is my favorite African-American music album of all time. .

The party begins with a marvelous rap interlude entitled "Prologue (20's rap scene/ Quincy's Rap) which is a fun and energetic warm-up track featuring a wonderful rap dialogue that is really a lot of fun and highly joyous to listen. The title begins with a industrial metallic drum intro similar to that of the title track of Janet Jackson's dynamite "Rhythm Nation" and becomes a marvelous and energetic blend of rap, hip-hop with a New Jack Swing Spice. "I Don't Go For That" is similar to the previous and with a stadium-like New Jack Swing anthem with a fun Manhattan nighttime city feel. "I Don't Go For That" is a wonderful New Jack Swing classic with a highly danceable beat, wonderful melody.

"The Verb To Be" is a really humorous interlude with oddly amplified voice effects and really funny lines. The laughing voices merge into the track "We Be Doing' It".
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Format: Audio CD
How can one of the greatest Black music albums ever be listed as "out of stock" by Amazon? Who can be so blind as to not leave this record out for sale on a permanent basis?
Well, if you haven't heard this album, you're simply missing a rare treat. Quincy Jones is one of the most influential artists in music ever, period. He single-handedly launched a wide range of highly-gifted artists and arranged/produced albums for many artists that still hold out as the best in their careers. Since the 1970s, his solo projects are a way for him to showcase tons of talent, old and young, blending together and taking up new vocal and musical challenges.
And this is precisely what this record was all about. More than an album, it is a testament to the greatness of Black music. Quincy has gathered here the greatest amount of talent any money has ever bought (or will ever buy, for that matter, since many of them have passed away since) : respectable old-timers like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis or Ray Charles, and, nearer to us, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Barry White, Bobby McFerrin or Chaka Khan, share their many talents with rising stars such as Take 6, Al B. Sure, El DeBarge, Siedah Garrett, Tevin Campbell and even a cast of first-class rappers such as Ice-T, Kool Moe Dee or Big Daddy Kane. By comparison, the next project, "Q's Jook Joint", for its almost equally incredible line-up of artists, is not half as good as this.
For "Back On The Block", Quincy was sold on rap by his son, and he wanted this album to reflect the passing of the flame from the old to the new generation and the blending of all Black music, be it gospel, jazz, African, funk or rap. He has largely succeeded...
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