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Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones [Kindle Edition]

Quincy Jones
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $11.84
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Musician, composer, producer, arranger, and pioneering entrepreneur Quincy Jones has lived large and worked for five decades alongside the superstars of music and entertainment -- including Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Ray Charles, Will Smith, and dozens of others. Q is his glittering and moving life story, told with the style, passion, and no-holds-barred honesty that are his trademarks.

Quincy Jones grew up poor on the mean streets of Chicago’s South Side, brushing against the law and feeling the pain of his mother’s descent into madness. But when his father moved the family west to Seattle, he took up the trumpet and was literally saved by music. A prodigy, he played backup for Billie Holiday and toured the world with the Lionel Hampton Band before leaving his teens. Soon, though, he found his true calling, inaugurating a career whose highlights have included arranging albums for Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, and Count Basie; composing the scores of such films as The Pawnbroker, In Cold Blood, In the Heat of the Night, and The Color Purple, and the theme songs for the television shows Ironside, Sanford and Son, and The Cosby Show; producing the bestselling album of all time, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and the bestselling single “We Are the World”; and producing and arranging his own highly praised albums, including the Grammy Award—winning Back on the Block, a striking blend of jazz, African, urban, gospel, and hip-hop. His musical achievements, in a career that spans every style of American popular music, have yielded an incredible seventy-seven Grammy nominations, and are matched by his record as a pioneering music executive, film and television producer, tireless social activist, and business entrepreneur–one of the most successful black business figures in America. This string of unbroken triumphs in the entertainment industry has been shadowed by a turbulent personal life, a story he shares with eloquence and candor.

is an impressive self-portrait by one of the master makers of American culture, a complex, many-faceted man with far more than his share of talents and an unparalleled vision, as well as some entirely human flaws. It also features vivid testimony from key witnesses to his journey–family, friends, and musical and business associates. His life encompasses an astonishing cast of show business giants, and provides the raw material for one of the great African American success stories of this century.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

He reached an apogee of fame in the mid-1980s as the producer-arranger of Michael Jackson's blockbuster album Thriller and the charity single "We Are the World," but Quincy Jones has been a force in American music since he was a teenager. He swung hard enough to play with beboppers like Dizzy Gillespie; he studied composition with the legendary Nadia Boulanger; he scored dozens of films and TV shows; he arranged and/or produced albums for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Leslie Gore, and rappers like Melle Mel don't disdain the old man either. Looking back at age 68 in a good-natured autobiography supplemented with brief chapters by such friends as Ray Charles and ex-wife Peggy Lipton, Jones asserts, "I've been driven all my life by a spirit of adventure and a criminal level of optimism." Given his beginnings, growing up poor in Chicago and Seattle with a mentally ill mother lurking in the background, that's quite an achievement. Jones never stood still long enough to let sorrow catch him, and though his treatment of his personal life is standard Hollywood glib ("Though Nastassja [Kinski]'s and my relationship as a couple was not destined to last, she is a great friend"), his prose catches fire when it touches on music: Dinah Washington "could take the melody in her hand, hold it like an egg, crack it open, fry it, let it sizzle, reconstruct it, put the egg back in the box and back in the refrigerator, and you would've still understood every single syllable." His furious energy may have been fueled by personal demons, but his joyous sweep through a half century of American pop convinces you that Jones was right to keep moving: "Nothing is ever wrong if it's going someplace," he asserts. "Music is about ever-changing." --Wendy Smith

From Publishers Weekly

With some chapters written by Jones, and others by his family and friends (Ray Charles and Peggy Lipton, to name a few), this (auto)biography full of behind-the-scenes anecdotes has an improvisational feel that suits its subject: a jazz musician and superstar composer. Jones came from a hardscrabble background split between Seattle and Chicago when he was still a boy, his schizophrenic mother was placed in a mental hospital for a time, and he was raised by his father and a stepmother. Jones discovered his talent for music early on, and hit the road with Lionel Hampton's jazz band when he was still a teenager. Hampton is just one of the musical greats who makes an appearance Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington and Ray Charles are others. Jones scored his greatest musical successes during the 1970s and '80s (during which years he composed film scores and Michael Jackson's albums), but the strength of the book comes early on, when he describes the joy of his discovery of music, his early friendship with Charles and his struggles and joys as a jazz trumpeter on the road. "When I played music, my nightmares ended. My family problems disappeared." But to Jones's credit, he doesn't hold back his narrative when those problems caught up with him in the 1980s and he suffered a mental breakdown. With the help of his friends, Jones has composed a life story that gives much more than the typical celebrity memoir. (Oct.)Forecast: This title will appeal to many, including fans buying the CD boxed set, Q: The Music of Quincy Jones.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5632 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1st edition (April 23, 2002)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1K34
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,382 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The autobiography of Quincy Jones is like one of his arrangements: masterful, engaging on several levels, and state-of the-art.
Jones' life story seems MADE for a highly dramatic, award-winning t.v. or big screen movie -- and I dearly hope it'll be made into one. Musician. Producer. Businessman. Composer. Arranger. Determination and incredible talent skyrocketing him over big obstacles. It's fitting that Jones' biggest passion is music because this outstanding autobiography truly SINGS.
From the first pages, you're thrust into the drama -- and challenge -- of Jones' life. Born into a poor family, throughout most of his life (well into his adult years) Jones struggled with how to cope-with and at times how to distance himself from a mother who suffered from severe mental illness. Music became his savior and Jones embraced it like the stable motherly love which he sought and he lacked as a child. He embraced Mother Music, letting it's beauty embrace, comfort and sustain him.
There are several things that sets this book apart from other show biz bios and makes it such sheer JOY for readers of ALL ages (old fogies like me who grew up with his music as well as young folks interested in music, interested in biographies or interested in show business and the arts in general):
1.PANORAMIC STYLE. There is so much in it that we can only list a little here, such as the poignant vignette of a young, arts-smitten Jones, just discovering his musical "chops" and bonding with a blind teenage musician named Ray Charles who basically mentored and inspired him; his later associations with greats such as Sammy Davis Jr, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and many many more.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! October 17, 2001
Quincy Jones embodies the best of what it means to be fully human. He's always been on the cutting edge, at least a generation ahead of everyone else: in movies, in theater, in television, and, of course, in music. Now, in the disguise of an artist, he transcends art into healing.
This is a great book and works on so many different levels: as intimate biography, as powerful literature, and the story of one who transcended suffering into healing. And what an interesting life!
But this is more than just a fascinating story. He offers a wise roadmap to self-discovery and wholeness, both individually and culturally. Read it and be inspired by his courage and wisdom.
Somehow, the corrosive idea that the evil guy is interesting and the good guy is boring has entered popular culture, especially in rap and hip-hop. Only an artist of Quincy Jones' stature could show by extraordinary example even to the most angry and dispossessed that it is possible to be both loving and cool, generous and hip, selfless and self-fulfilled--and that it's a lot more fun and exciting to live this way. Come for the music and stay for the love.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
There aren't words to describe how important this book is.

It isn't enough to say that every musician and American music enthusiast should have a copy of this in their libraries. This book should be standard issue in every college American history and music course across America. Unlike any other biographies or history books I have read of such a profoundly gifted, loving, courageous and culturally significant man, Paul Duberman's biography of Paul Robeson, the Autobiography of Malcolm X, and this book of Q's stand as the three most important books of any kind to read. Simply to truly understand the history of America and American music in the 20th century, the African American multifaceted soul, and the National American psyche.

Few lives have had the impact on the 20th Century as Quincy Jones' had. Few people on earth and in history can say that their life so threads through the cultural fabric of an entire people and time--internationally speaking--that understanding them, is essentially understanding the entire world from which you come.

This man is extraordinary. I had no idea just to what degree, despite all that I thought I knew of him, before reading this book. And this book, as entertaining as a good novel, as informative and eye-opening as a detective story or inside source history book, is destined to become a classic of American letters. God bless him. Play on Q; play on!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the most important and powerful musicians of our time October 17, 2001
By "bootc"
Q, The Autobiography of Quincy Jones has been an awesome, page turning read! Most would use a journey of writing their biography to embarrass and annoy friends and family, Quincy just tells it like it is. One of the things I love is the ability to show the readers that he is human and has flaws. Despite issues with his mother and the countless women in and out of his life, he realized that only HE could be the one to make a difference in his life. The other thing I love best is his incorporating dialogue of close friends and family in the book, which only speaks to the kind of man he is. Loyal. Finally, I think the book teaches us to rise above our circumstances. Come what may. Quincy Jones, truely is a living legend.....
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
i'm hooked.. from the early days in chicago & seattle, to going to berklee and hooking up with lionel hampton.. meeting and becoming friends with all the show biz greats.. bird, basie, hampton, sinatra, dizzy.. studying in paris.. a great testament to a legend in entertainment.. I'm hoping his story becomes a movie like RAY...

i guess when you're really into a book, it goes fast for you.. there may be even more addendums in future releases..

just thinking about the various stories and anecdotes here--

.. the surprisingly integrated middle & high school he attended-- though there was racism bubbling underneath the surface..

His father, a skilled carpenter, did work for a team of racketeers in Chicago.. He would ultimately commit their mother to a mental institute, and abruptly move the family-- with new wife soon to follow-- to Seattle..

...having to deal with a resentful stepmother, who would bar her non-biological children-- Quincy and Lloyd-- from the refrigerator..

getting hired by lionel hampton and kicked off the bus by his wife in the same day.. he was still in high school..

the painful descent of his mother into mental illness while still a boy.. which never went away, as she would drift in and out of he and his brother Lloyd's life, instigating chaotic conflicts regularly.. Still living to the ripe old age of 91.. a chance call to his daughter Kidada finally brought him some sense of closure..

his long-time relationship with Frank Sinatra, at one point telling Jones of his private crush on Billie Holiday.. having a crew of Eastern euro bodyguards to look after him and other black band members while interacting in Las Vegas casinos..

getting involved in scoring movies..
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! I've gotten through the first fourth of ...
Great book! I've gotten through the first fourth of it. Well--written and informative. Anyone who is interested in music or the music business should pick it up!
Published 1 month ago by R. Golden
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Incredible man! And I'm just at page 50.
Published 1 month ago by Bruce Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A must for jazz lovers!
Published 2 months ago by gejkjazz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read!
Published 4 months ago by The 13eatnik
5.0 out of 5 stars Giant revelations by a giant!
This is an excellent book. Very honest, and revealing. Thank you Q!
Published 5 months ago by M. L. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Man
There is more to this man than meets the ears. This book goes into deep detail about the mind, music, heart and soul; of this giant.
Published 10 months ago by Larry P
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read and prompt delivery.
The purchase was exactly what I was expecting and for a MORE than reasonable price. Thanks again for being a great business owner.
Published 11 months ago by L. J. Neely
5.0 out of 5 stars American Entertainment Icon has American Dream backstory
Absolutely great reading. The guy is a multi-generational cultural Icon. Huge influence in the entertainment industry. reads like a dickens novel.
Published 13 months ago by John L. Chandler
5.0 out of 5 stars Q: autobiography
Awesome book! You learn a lot about Mr. Q jones and his awesome life. Lots of trials and tribulations.
Great read!
Published 17 months ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
This is one of my all-time favorite books! Mr. Jones lived a very colorful life. He presents his journey with amazing candor. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Tim McClain
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