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--This text refers to the
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
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!
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.....
I've been waiting for this Book for the longest time.Quincy Jones what a Music Mind&Person?He really overcame so much&Yet kept His Cool.a First Class Cat.He has Worked with the Best.You Name them Q has been there.Ray Charles,Billy Eckstine,Clark Terry,Count Basie,Frank Sinatra,Michael Jackson among others that He has Worked with.Incredible.this Book deals with many topics&deals with things Head On.with Quincy Jones You feel the Soul&Depth.Enjoy