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Showing 1-10 of 44 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 76 reviews
on February 23, 2016
I very much enjoyed this book, especially the first half and within the first half, most especially his childhood -- which certainly had its challenges. The situation with his mother broke my heart, but he and his brother left alone broke my heart even more. Not that there is any self-pity in this book. Not a bit. He had it rough, that's for sure.

But it was cool how magical music was for him from the start. The way things went for him beginning at such a young age -- his career surely was ordained!

I loved hearing about all the cool guys in NY, especially Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Clark Terry and so on. Also the scoop on what it was like touring the U.S. and Europe. Quincy really goes into detail about band life, which was fantastic.

The second half of the book was more like a resume to me and less personal. I wanted the personal because I can find all the resume stuff -- accomplishments, recording/producing/arranging for this celebrity and that movie, etc. -- online. I wanted to know more of what he was going through, how he felt. Maybe he was just working so much, there really wasn't time to absorb and reflect. He was a workaholic. Maybe he couldn't express what he was going through because he was buried in non-stop activity.

There is a brief narrative re: a nervous breakdown after taking Halcion for a year. The drug didn't allow him to dream. He doesn't detail what the nervous breakdown entailed other than lack of wellbeing, lifelessness type of thing. I bet he hallucinated, because when a drug prevents you from dreaming in your sleep, it will insist on it when you are awake. I'm totally conjecturing here, but I wouldn't be surprised. I didn't sleep for about a year and I sure hallucinated. What a drag. Anyway, I'm glad he recovered.

I loved the way every other chapter was written by a friend or family member giving their take on his situation at various times in his life. That was really interesting.

Unfortunately, I have to give the publisher a big one-star for their formatting. Don't they have anyone checking the Kindle version? There were no paragraph indents in the entire book, which made it annoying and difficult to get through.
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on August 2, 2017
I bought two. One for me and one as a gift for a friend of mine who is life long friends with Quincy.
We both absolutely love it. I would stay in my car when I got to destinations just to keep listening.

He's got a great voice along with great stories...
This is a must hear for any musician!
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VINE VOICEon June 16, 2002
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.
Jackson, he writes, "wanted to be the best of everything" so he "went to the top model in each (show biz) category to create an act and a persona that would be unequalled." But "somehow later on the line between the reality and the fantasy got blurred." In the end, Jones writes, Jackson became "a total sponge, a chamelon." Jackson practiced hours and hours to perfect every single move, gesture and facial expression.
I am haunted by Jones' portrait of Sinatra. For all the tough-guy accounts elsewhere, Sinatra comes across as a noble and principled human being -- cooking Jones breakfast when he learned that Jones stayed up all night working; insisting that African-American musicians for his Vegas concert be allowed to play and get good rooms at a casino and telling his security to do significant bodily harm to any racists who harrassed them, even the slightest bit.
2)SECOND VOICES. Not all chapters are written by Jones. He also let others write their accounts about parts of his life, and not all of this material is complimentary. This adds a documentary feel and a sense of balance that most show business autobiographies lack.
3)USEFUL OBSERVATIONS. In his chapter on Michael Jackon's rise to the top of the music heap he notes that writes that he learned that "Nobody stays at the top. Nobody." Success, he writes, is "about preparation, then finding the right
opportunity" -- and that he learned that "being chronically underestimated can be a gift."
Jone's autobiography takes you through the 20th century's top musical and show business eras, and gifts you an incredible cast of famous well-etched cameos. The depth, ease, and detail of this panoramic journey is paralleled only by his private trek -- from poverty to aspiration to success, all amid personal family tragedies. In the end, we see a man (and artist) who constantly survived and triumphed due to his humanity -- and his unceasing personal growth.
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on March 4, 2012
Of course I knew of Quincy Jones before I bought the book, but I guess if I am honest I did not really know why and would have struggled to name anything other than his work with Michael Jackson. Once you get into the book you realise just how much of an influence he has had on Music production over the last three generations, spanning from big band through to film scores and of course music of many genres. I found the book fascinating and inspiring, but it also confirmed that even such public figures are human and do not get everything right. Jones admits himself that he was not as present as he should have been for his children and as a result they have struggled with their own demons, it is unusual to find someone so successful who does not have a mega-ego.
I recommend this without hesitation, find out more about how he has and still is influencing almost everything we hear on TV and radio.
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on February 18, 2016
Had trouble finding this book locally. So afraid he would die before I could get it. But he keeps popping up on tv, looking like he's 50. I'm shooting for death at 120, and it looks like Quincy is, too. Just started reading it, and as a big jazz fan, I can only read when I have lots of time, 'cause I know I won't be able to put it down. Also appreciate the lists of musicians, records, and awards.
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on April 17, 2017
Great information on a legend
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on April 26, 2012
AFTER READING THIS PHENOMINAL BOOK I HAVE JUST ONE WORD FOR IT: "DAYUM!" OF ALL THE BIOS I HAVE READ ON THE LUSHOUS HISTORY OF BLACK MUSIC LEGENDS, THIS IS THE MOST PROVOCATIVE, INFORMATIVE, EYE OPENING, REAL, EDUCATIONAL BIO'S I HAVE EVER READ. I WILL PUT THIS HIGH ON THE LIST WITH TWO OTHERS I READ, "BROTHER RAY" AND "RAGE TO SURVIVE". Q, GIVES DEEP AND GRAPHIC INSITE INTO HIS PERSONAL LIFE AS GROWING UP, TO BECOMING ONE OF THE MOST PROFOUND OF MUSIC LEGENDS IN THE INDUSTRY. I TRULY ENJOYED READING THIS BOOK AND TO ANY MUSIC ENTHUSIAST WHO LOVE TO READ ABOUT THE GREAT LEGENDS OF POPULAR MUSIC, IT'S A MUST READ. A REAL EYE OPENER. THIS BOOK DESERVES A SECOND READ WHICH I WILL DO. Q, YOU ARE THE MASTER!!!
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on January 16, 2002
I ,like many of the reviewers below, am just blown away by the accomplishments of this man. His life in music spans decades and musical styles that makes him unique among American musicians. From Lionel Hampton to Frank Sinatra To Michael Jackson to a seemingly endless list of film and TV scores----Q has seen and done it all musically.
The book is very well written and touchingly sentimental in his recollection of deceased family members and friends. At one point I began to wonder if Q ever met a man or a woman he didn't like. He has so much that is positive to say about almost everyone he came into contact with in what is a notoriously sleezy business that I began to wonder if he was just trying to be inoffensive. I concluded at last that this guy is just blessed with a generous heart that allows him to see the best in people. His genuine love of the music and the people who make it with him just jumps off the pages.
This is an inspiring story of a man who has overcome considerable obstacles both social and physcial but has retained his essential positive energy. He is one of the all time greats.
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on July 2, 2010
When I was 15 I bought an album called Hip Hits. I knew nothing about Quincy Jones, except that I liked the music and this was around 1963. But, when i saw his name popping-up as a composer in such movies as The Carpetbaggers, In The Heat of the Night, did I began to learn about Quincy Jones. He was the first black musician who composed music themes, but also was music direct for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, The Brothers Johnson, and of course, Michael Jackson.

Quincy is the last of his breed and this book also gives acolades to other great musicians, who are long gone and unknown to many young music lovers. This is a good chance to get to know them.
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on March 8, 2007
I loved it! I'm learning the piano and thought I could learn something from the best. I learned more. I'm a big music lover and love Quincy and his music. He's worked with the best of the legends, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billy Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Dina Washington, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson etc. etc. He's had an incredible life! And not without tragedy and set backs and overcame them all. His family is beautiful. How he forgave the sad and unfair things done to him. Tears and laughter, so moving, especially about his brother Lloyd. Quincy's my hero. I knew he was great, but he's more. I'm so grateful he shared his life with us. I learned so much! Let the Light heal the dark places, and listen to God's whispers is where I want to be. Thank you Quincy!
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