Quincy Jones
National Visionary

Born March 14, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois

Composer, arranger; music, film and TV producer, publisher, entertainment industry executive

As a composer, arranger, conductor, record and film producer, industry executive and multi-media entrepreneur, the tremendously successful and prolific Quincy Jones stands as one of the most influential figures in American popular culture.  His award-winning style has been marked by the masterful blending of jazz, swing, be-bop, rhythm and blues, classical, hip-hop, African, Brazilian and world music.  “If there are any common denominators,” Jones explains, “they are spirit and musicality.  I go for the music that gives me goose bumps, music that touches my heart and my soul.”

Quincy (left) and his
brother Lloyd
Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. was born in Chicago on March 14, 1933 but was raised in Bremerton, Washington.  It was in Bremerton that Jones’s passion for music was ignited.  He joined the school band, the school choir, sang in a gospel quartet, and as a junior in high school, began playing the trumpet.  At age 14, he met an up-and-coming musician who taught him about arranging and writing music.  The young star was Ray Charles, and the two became lifelong friends. 

In 1950, Jones went to Boston to study music at the renowned Schillinger House of Music (now the Berklee College of Music), but he left school to tour with Lionel Hampton’s band as trumpeter, arranger and occasionally pianist. Jones then moved to New York where he began arranging and recording for artists such as Ray Charles, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Dinah Washington. In the early 1960s, Jones went to work at Mercury Records where he later became vice-president, making him the first upper level black executive of any major record company.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Jones continued breaking racial barriers in the entertainment industry by expanding his career frontiers into scoring music for film and television.  The Pawnbroker, In the Heat of the Night, and The Wiz were among the most well-known of his 33 major motion picture film scores, and his television credits include “The Bill Cosby Show,” “Sanford and Son,” and “Roots,” for which he won an Emmy. 

Already renowned in the music, film and television industries, Jones realized unprecedented success in the 1980s.  In 1982, Jones produced Michael Jackson’s multi-platinum hit, Thriller.  Reportedly, over 100 million copies have been sold worldwide, making it the best selling album of all time as well as an historic and cultural landmark.  Astonishingly, in 1985, Jones set another record when he produed “We Are the World.” The recording raised 50 million dollars for Ethiopia’s famine victims and became the best-selling single of all time. Jones made yet another debut in 1985 co-producing the Oscar-nominated adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. Jones has also made an indelible mark on the entertainment industry with the formation of Quincy Jones Entertainment, a multi-media venture which produced “In the House,” “Mad TV” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and publishes VIBE and SPIN magazines. 

The numerous awards and honors bestowed upon Jones from around the world stand as a testament to his unprecedented contribution to the development of not only American popular music, but to the enrichment of music around the globe. Over the years Jones has accumulated 27 Grammy Awards, seven Oscar nominations, one Emmy Award, 15 NAACP Image Awards, the “Legion d’ Honneur,” and the Royal Swedish Academy’s Polar Music Award.  He has received 13 honorary doctorates and was named a 2001 Kennedy Center Honoree for his contribution to the cultural fabric of the United States.  The same year, he published  Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones. 

Jones has five children: Jolie, Martina-Lisa, Quincy III, Kidada and Rashida. 


Quincy Jones' Wikipedia Page

Clark Terry's Visionary Page (Jones's first music teacher)
Ray Charles' Visionary Page (Friend and collegue of Jones)

URL (Click to bookmark): http://www.visionaryproject.org/jonesquincy