Transcript:

Baker: Well, when he was growing up and when I was growing up, he really wasn't just jazz. It was a whole. Area of music, for instance, it was rhythm and blues. It was gospel music. It was popular music that's in the vernacular and jazz. Now, several things feed into that. First of all, if you were going to go into music and at an early age, because he had made those some of those decisions.

Baker: You had no other areas open to you. So why were you going to be thinking about being in a symphony orchestra or being in a concert band or playing in a chamber group with a string quartet? And it's, I think, axiomatic that people tend to excel in the areas which are open to them, whether it's sports or music. The other thing is that when he was growing up and when I was growing up and we were just a couple of years apart. The stations that carried the music that we would listen to there was a station out of. Out of Gallatin, Tennessee. Call Randy's record shop. And they must have had the widest range because I talked to people on the different coast. I talked to people in the Midwest. And either they're lying or they really do know because you could get a tunnel, Randy's record shop. And these shows were 15 minutes at a time. And to show you how long ago this was, the products they advertise was hair straightener. You know, for blacks or skin whiteners, something called Nad Noller skin whitener. And this was a long time before, you know, some famous people were doing that cosmetically.

Interviewer: While one thing I.

Speaker One thing I don't want to forget to ask is something you just told me over there but if you could rephrase it I'd appreciate it, which is thatthat among the different music Quincy wanted to do as a very youngster. There was one type of music from the age of seven or eight.

Interviewer: He really was dreaming about doing, tell me about that.

Baker: Well, despite the fact that a lot of fields were closed to blacks, almost all those fields except the vernacular, like I said before, gospel.

Baker: What have you I talked to Quincy once and Quincy said when he used to go to the movies on Saturday to see the serials and stuff, he would hear the music more than he saw the plot, whether it was the Green Hornet, as he mentioned, was before or it was the shadow or was Fu Manchu. He said he heard the music he saw because he knew instinctively that he would someday write movie music. And to have somebody at that young an age really focus in such a way. That's a very special kind of talent to recognize that this is important. I think one of the reasons why when he went to study with Madam, Madam, not Nadia, Boulanger and the other people who were his seminal influences, I think it was to shore up those areas that would then ultimately buttress that interest and that part of what he wanted to do.

Interviewer: Tell us about the first time you worked with Q. First moment you got the call?

Baker: Well, I knew of of Quincy long before I got a call to work with him.

Baker: Q is very, very popular because he was the bright young star in New York. I mean, everybody wanted to play the music as he was prolific. You wrote much, much music with a lot of different kinds of music then even as early as. Nineteen fifty nine. Which is, I think, the first time I worked with him and he called actually called the guy I was working with is working it with a sextet. Ted called the George Russell Sextet. We were playing at a place called the Five Spot, and it turned out that we were off across this period of time.

Baker: And Quincy called George to get in touch with me. And when George call me. I was astounded. You know, because, boy, this is a dream, you know, to work with Quincy Jones. And so Q called, said hat we're getting ready to go. All right. Call through an intermediary and say we're getting ready to go to Europe. Do you want to play in the band? Butter Jackson just left the band. And it was on such short notice that butter. Who was. A good 60 or 70 pounds heavier than me. I had to wear his outfit is his cause at that time we had suits and all of that stuff. So I'm walking around with my cuffs rolled up and pins and stuff like that for the first part of the tour. But what an exciting thing. I remember going to the first rehearsal and there all these guys that were I knew only peripherally, like Curtis Fuller with the trombone section, Melba Liston and a guy named Oaky Pearson once we got to got to Europe. And of course, one of my students, a guy I told to read, in fact, Freddie Hubbard was in the band and it was all of a sudden a dream come true. And Quincy was always so evenhanded. No big deal. He said, man, you know, I want you to play in the band.

Baker: And it seems to me that's the thing that has been a thread throughout his life. Kings, queens, street people. Doesn't matter. They get treated like human beings because that's who he is.

Interviewer: That's great.

Interviewer: The thing that's great. So tell me this was just after free and easy or. When you've joined the band and if it was after free and easy, you know, I know that really took a toll on Quincy. Tell me about, you know, what it was like.

Baker: Well, I believe this was the year after they had gone over it. These are the year that are two years later.

Interviewer: That just it was just after I started.

Baker: I joined Quincy's band right after the less than successful trip he had had to Europe with free and easy.

Baker: But firstly, Quincy was undaunted. You know, I'm gonna have my band. Dizzy had gone through the same thing in nineteen forty five. He had a band called HEPS Sessions, forty five HEPS stations. It didn't work. By 1948 he had another band because he was going to have his band. Well Quincy was the same way. So when I joined the band it was relatively stable in terms I'm assuming financially and otherwise.

Baker: We opened in Basel, Switzerland, I believe, and toured there. We were in France. We were in Germany. I guess Austria. Wonderful successes.

Baker: Now, I can't talk about how it did financially. I don't know that. But I do know that we played both concerts and we played dances at the dances. We had one book, and Quincy is a magnificent person at gauging what people dance to. I'm assuming this is part of his legacy from Count Basie. But then, on the other hand, when we played places like I think it might be called the Olympia. I don't remember one of the places in Paris he could immediately switch gears and now programs. So that's for people who are listening to the music rather than responding physically to their music. And it was a fun band.

Baker: Quincy spoke recently about the fact, what we did on the trains and how there were fines and all this. We actually held court every day. Bud Johnson was the judge. He was one of the tenor players on the band. Phil. Phil Woods, I believe, was the prosecuting attorney.

Interviewer: Set this up just a little bit earlier on tour with Quint's.

Interviewer: OK. And we'll be on a train. OK. OK.

Baker: With Quincy, there was a whole structure in place. Part of it was basically to really raise money for a party at the end of the tour. And so the rules were on the train, on the plane or whatever. The day after a concert. And that was every night we would have caught. And people could be brought up on charges. For instance, if a guy was very close to scoring with a nice young lady and you got in between him and that lady with some dumb conversation, you'd be brought up on charges and the guy could press charges. You could pick your own defense attorney. But Johnson was called the judge. Phil Woods at one time was a prosecuting attorney. So you could be brought home being late, you could be brought home being drunk, cueball be brought up on not playing your part correctly. And there were fines levied. And it was in good spirit. Not so bad, Dad. We get out of control, goes gets Quincy stayed remarkably clear because he could be brought up on charges, too. And at the end of the tour, all that money was then put together. And we had a big party and everybody was cool, you know. But I thought, what a way to release tension and also keep the spirit of a family, because with Quincy, whenever it's a band, it becomes a family. He's marvelous at remembering names. He remembers birthdays. He remembers to your side. He remembers all of these things. That it's this kind of thing that humanizes that. That experience in a way that some band leaders are incapable of doing because they want to be at this level and have the band at that level. Quincy is a player. You know, I've found a wonderful video of him very recently that I had for a long time. I've been playing trumpet. He's sitting next to Clifford Brown and he's playing the trumpet. And I sent him a copy of it. And it speaks again to the fact that as a player, he brought that mentality to the music rather than somebody who just wrote. But he already knew about what happens with players, how they think, how they write. That's why his music is so vital, because he writes like we would play. What he writes is exactly what a saxophone player would play, a trumpet player would play. So the music is gracious. It's easy to know that's a lie. It isn't easy to play. Sometimes it's easy to play, but it's always absolutely authentic. Whatever genre he chooses, it's great.

Interviewer: Take us quickly through. Hamp chose Quincy. What did Quincy tell us that Quincy learned from Hamp? What did he suck from that experience?

Speaker Well, Quincy went with Hamp. I think he said when he was 19 years old. And I really don't have a handle on what that meant to him at the time, Hamp was basically the training school for most African-American musicians, the way say, for instance, Woody Herman was for Caucasians. So when he went on the band, I'm sure it was great excitement because the trumpet section was he, art farmer, Benny Bailey, Clifford Brown, and Quincy. That's the creme de la creme of music at that time. Trumpet playing. And I suspect he learned a lot about what people think, you know, because as a young player growing up, he would have heard the music of Lionel for instance in the early 40s. Illinois Jacquet, one of the tenor saxophone player, recorded a piece called Flying Home. One of the measuring sticks for where you were in your evolution as a jazz musician is that you could sing his solo. And so everybody who aspired to play professionally probably had learned. That' solo, the way that an earlier generation had learned the 1939 version of Body and Soul by Coleman Hawkins. So what do you learn? Probably was the protocol. He learned how to act around somebody like Quincy, like Lionel. He probably learned that you should wait your turn before you become the soloist with the band. That the lead player has certain kind of functions, the sidemen, absolutely absolute functions. So I suspect the protocol is what he brought from that, because Quincy has a sharp learning curve, as we can see everything he gets into, zoom. He's at the top of it and he knows exactly how it was, whether it's producing, whether it's moviemaking, whether it's writing for TV.

Baker: And he becomes and a lot of ways the model, you know, for me, the things that I think about with him. He's got a model for me. You know, as a band leader in college, as a as a teacher, because he teaches by example, you know, and maybe it's because he learned largely that. What?

Interviewer: Why do you think was so close to Basie? And what do you think? I mean is. Sorry. What do you think he took from Basie in terms of band leader, in terms of human being?

Baker: From Count Basie, Quincy says he learned so much because Count treated him like a son. He took him under a wing. He recognized this tremendous talent as a writer. The tremendous talent as a player. He also saw the Quincy had such a marvelous ear for sound. And after all, music is despite the fact that we read music. It's an oral phenomenon. And when people forget that somehow and other than reading, music becomes more important than making music.

Baker: So with Count Basie, that band it off had gone through stages where they played what they called had arrangements. They made the ready with them on the spot. And, you know, then over the time, the parts would settle in and everybody would know how they fit in. But I would suspect that for him, having somebody like Count Basie take him under wing and say, Q And he didn't have to tell him he could see what he did to set the band of how the band would start to play. And he wouldn't even tell the people what they want to play. He would do that with the introduction. I would play one note and all of a sudden the pieces swinging. Cuisia, I think, really understood that probably more than anybody else. But he claims Basie as his musical father. The inscription on one of the arrangements we are doing. I can't remember which one, but it was the arrangement. There's a marvelous inscription to count written on the top of the score.

Interviewer: Now, you're so well-spoken about musical stuff and. As an educator, help us understand the Quincy becomes an arranger at a certain point, he's a player, but he wants to ride. So he he works. He makes his living trying to pitch arrangements to base in zone. What is arranging and why would it attract Quincy? For the layman?

Baker: Well, the thing is, it seems to me that attract Quincy to arranging and I have to have to say it's not just arranging, it's arranging and composing, arranging flights, composing, because when you're an arranger, basically you are secondarily a composer anyway, because what you do is to take a standard piece of music. If it's not your composition and you try to say something to an audience about that music that they would not perceive otherwise. So, for instance, you take a piece. Say, let's just say Blue Moon. You know, that's about as quite a piece as you can imagine. A person like Quincy, an arranger, as great as he is, would look at that piece in its total and say, what are the distinguishing factors on this in this arrangement? Now, I'm going to use one of the distinguish factor, which may be a melody or maybe a curve of the melody. It might be a rhythm going to make that the introduction. Now, if I use it as an introduction, if I wanted to be cohesive, then I'll probably use this as an interlude or an ending. He'll also look and see where should the solos be. If I have the saxophones playing the solo, I mean playing the melody. Then when I get to the bridge section, the middle section, and suddenly there appeared before me that other than that I whatever, then I'm gonna give that to travelers because you're always looking for the balance. You're always looking for what engages the audience. And for me, I think and for Quincy, I would bet it's always trying to say tell an audience something about a piece that they wouldn't know. If he hadn't written the arrangement, we also knew the stuff he did for Ella Fitzgerald, for instance, on Basie and Ella and every one of those pieces is a gem because what he does is provide something that enhances what Ella does and what Basie. Now, this is also and I'm going to take just a moment to put an aside. This is also where Quincy shows his genius, because when you're writing for a jazz band or writing for a singer, that's one mentality. But when you're writing for a movie or TV show, that's another mentality.

Baker: The point of a movie or a TV show writing is to be unobtrusive, to have the audience not notice you at all. All of a sudden, the tension begins to rise and it's heightened. You don't know why.

Baker: You think it's just the drama. Do you stop and think that it's the music? And to be able to wear both of those hats. Among the many other hats and be able to switch gears from writing a movie where the music is secondary in consideration to. A dance piece, an arrangement, a composition where the focal point is what you're writing.

Interviewer: Great. What about orchestration? Let's see, huh?

Baker: Well, orchestration is yet another very, very special kind of gift. And I'll tell you this, everybody can learn to imitate. I mean, you can do that. I can you know, I can tell with my own students when, for instance, writing classical music, the first piece that they write for orchestra. I can tell you this came from Bartok's Concerto. This came from Rachmaninoff's variations on the theme of Paganini. But the gifts the Quincy has and the gift that a number of other major writers has is an oral sense of what works, combinations that people wouldn't think of, you say. Now, wait a minute. What about muted trumpet and flute, which is a color he likes very much? And then you find out what a glorious sound it is. But then you look on another piece and here's a piece that's got three out of flutes, which people which is not a common instrument. And yet that's exactly the color. So the gift of when people say a really good ear and they're talking about an arranger or composer, they're talking about orchestration, the ability to hear colors for a while. You do it by imitation. You hear a sound that you like on a recording. It goes in the file cabinet we call the brain. And when you need it, you pull it forth. And of course, he has the advantage because he's been in bands of having the opportunity experiment. If it doesn't work. Hey, so what does one arrangement got? I won't do that again. And it seems to me that that pragmatic element in his thinking is one of the things that allows him to be so prolific and to be so in demand all the time.

Interviewer: What about Quincy's musical style? Everyone, you know, he is so diverse. He does so many different things so well. But, you know, one of the one of the criticisms, so to speak, is that he can't say, oh, he's not Miles Davis who has this identifiable style.

Interviewer: How would you describe if you if I need you to qualify or quantify or categorize, the music Quincy he's written.

Baker: What Quincy is not a person who writes Hn a style. he writes in a style that's appropriate to the particularly constituency he's trying to reach. So if you're talking about does he have a jazzar with big man? Yes, identifiable immediately. I hear a Quincy and arrangement or composition within eight measures. I can tell you that's Quincy Jones. The same way I can tell. Gil Evans. The same way I can tell Oliver Nelson. The same way I can tell Duke Ellington the same way I can tell Nelson Riddle, because it is his sound. It is something that all of the signature things there, the gestures, the big gestures and the music, the small gestures like what he does with coloration and orchestration.

Baker: Now, that style is not appropriate when he's riding. Ballet music. He's got a style that goes there. He's got another style that goes when he's riding, say.

Baker: TV music, and then there are variations within. Because his. If you were looking for the common thread is his jazz background is his jazz background, the gestures that go with that. So you hear Sanford and son. No way. You're not gonna tell me that that that that that's Quincy Jones. If you hear in the heat of the night. I know that's Quincy Jones. I recognize you from the first eight measures. And so those people who make those criticisms are people who, it seems to me, get caught up in blinders like this. And it's like the six Biomet of Hindustan, each who walked up on an elephant and grabbed a different part. And they said once said, I think an elephant's like a snake because he grabbed the tail. Another said, I think it was like a tree because he grab the lay. He's all of those things, but every one of them has the style that is appropriate to that music. And it is immediately recognized when the people who don't recognize it, that's their problem because they haven't done it listening and their homework.

Interviewer: All right. We just check some of these questions we've brought here. You know, when Quincy's in front of the band.

Baker: When Quincy is in front of the band, he's in his orbit and he's so. Is is so passionate that he communicates that passion immediately. Plus, he brings a sense of confidence. These are people who know that this man, because of the medium that he works and so much of the time has to maximize every moment. So there's nothing wasted. I watched him in in a performance recently preparing for a performance where he went to four tunes and less than 20 minutes. Zeroing in on everything that was important on those pieces. Now it takes a little while sometimes for many people to make an adjustment of undo. First thing Quincy does when he comes in front of a new band. I wonder the names of the people in the band. Then he wants to hear how they sound on a piece. And already he's making these wonderful judgments about they do this. They do that. Here's what that person is like in here for Deborah and Bam! Within a short period of time, he's now ready to go after what those strengths are. And he's able to through gestures because he doesn't have to always talk. He can do with his eyes. He can conduct the ban and cut him off with his eyes. I would bet that way.

Baker: And when he's conducting, the gestures are always the gestures that enhance. He doesn't have to tell them where the time is. You have to do that. So what he does is when it's the gesture, it's something to make sure that somebody remembers what he wrote on the page. Ah, he might decide the way the piece is going to change something. And they're looking at they look up at him. And even though it says softly, he'll go. And all of a sudden, the magic.

Baker: But I tell you, I know nobody who is able to communicate more effectively with musicians because first of all, again, it gets back to the point, his jazz background. And secondly, he's a player. And when you're a player, you bring a different kind of mentality to the to the to the podium.

Interviewer: That was a great, great answer. Thank you. Let me just quickly check. I know our time is limited. Talked about arrangements and orchestration. You're a teacher.

Interviewer: Quincy's chosen not to put his great knowledge in a. In a particular academic institution, so to speak. But how do you think? You know, quickly, Quincy, clearly mentors were important to him and, you know, that is a bad phrase giving back.

Interviewer: But it seemed like in everything he does, he he's.

Interviewer: Trying to be a. He's trying to get people to learn.

Baker: I think Quincy is a teacher. He's a teacher sometimes. This is the Socratic method. Whatever. But he is a teacher and he is very aware of this, even when it's that peer group that he works with of the of the highest players, whether it's, you know, the J.J. Johnsons, the Jerome Richardson's, the Freddie Hubbard, the Slicky Youngs, he's always teaching because with his music, he's telling them what he wants. And those, by extrapolation, become the same things that you're looking for in other people's music. Quincy is a teacher. And make no mistake about it, because he's not with an institution does mean he's not a good teacher because he is.

Baker: I watched him work with with kids. We did a festival at the University of Illinois some years ago where he conducted my band and Cannonball Adderley was the soloist. And I watched him take a piece that he wouldn't even tell me whether it was a composition of mine.

Baker: And then a matter of minutes he was teaching them without saying it. Stylistically, I wouldn't use vibrato if it were me in this particular piece. Not a not a command, a suggestion. And the person saw that all of a sudden the music moved in a different way. It had a different kind of gracefulness to it. And he is able to do this without being a dictator. He does it by sometimes making you think that you thought of it because it makes you feel good. Boy, I really am bright. He said, wow, that's a great a great effect the way you played that. He wrote it that way.

Baker: But all of a sudden you're empowered. It now becomes something that you buy into because you think it had its inception. In your mind, and sometimes that is happening, but most of them, he's bringing you around to a viewpoint that through years of pragmatic observation, he's arrived at and can and can impart to you.

Interviewer: I want to go back to when you're playing with them. There's a moment where right around that time goes into, you know, we're going to Mercury Records and he starts creating pop records.

Interviewer: You know, it's my party, number one kind of hits it was the sense of, you know, place yourself in the jazz community. And here's one of these special guys who is learning from now he's working with.

Baker: Well, I've listened to the criticisms of Quincy, you know, because he is so multifaceted in his interests. But I think that that's nonsense, basically, because they you know, Ellington said it very well. There are only two kinds of music, good and bad music. And I think that box somebody in and say this is what they do. That's that's absolutely insane. I watched it in classical music when people have changed what they do and always the visionaries, these are the people who can imagine where things are going, how they should be and to boxset. This is really where a lot of people can have the miles because Miles said you're not going to proscribe my artistic vision because of your limitations. And this is Quincy. It was I don't I don't think it was motivated by money. I don't think that financial things they happened to be a byproduct of what happens. But I think Quincy is I've just had an icon kind. I meet Herbie Hancock, all kind of music, Miles Davis, all kinds of music. And when we start putting people in boxes, it maybe should be like the phrase that Ellington used for people who are able to transcend these limitations beyond category. And I think Quincy is genuinely interested in all kinds of music. If Quincy decided to more, he was gonna write a piece. That came out of the whole concept of Serbo-Croatian music with Kodai and Bartok. It wouldn't surprise me and it would be a blockbuster and there would be people say, oh, man, what is that? You know, they did it to myself. You know, they couldn't help, Miles. But what usually happened, Miles, would do something. Ten year later, everybody was doing it. Quincy's the same way. Quincy would do something when he moved into the so-called pop feel out of rhythm and blues, feel a rap of whatever. Those same people were criticizing him five years down the line. That's a part of what they do because he's a visionary and, you know, everybody isn't gifted with being a visionary. I can count the original thinkers in my world own two hands. Everybody didn't have the gift of original thinking. He does.

Interviewer: You mentioned Miles and Bill Clinton. Help us understand how, you know, they sort of both grew up. On certain tracks together and in a way, that moment in 92 is the end of a certain era. Quincy is one of the surviving, you think Dizzy.

Interviewer: Between the time of listen up and now we hump, we've lost virtually all the major food to health.

Interviewer: You know, Quincy came up with these guys and he's essentially who's left and plays us out. That what that Montreal concert meant to you. What do you think it meant?

Baker: Well, the Montreal concert. Was one that I have very strong, mixed emotions about. First of all. That it was watching Miles in the last month or so of his life. I was aware of this because I watched him trying to play. But I think what is significant about Quincy's stature with regard to these earlier giants who have been his mentors like Dizzy and Miles, or even though they were like, you know, more like buddy style. Is that.

Baker: Miles once said in an American Masters. Presentation.

Baker: He said, if I had to go back and play that shot, I could play.

Baker: And everybody would have bet that Miles would never have revisit. Nineteen forty nine, which was like a seminal moment in his development, cause it's his first major innovation, the birth of the cool, if you will, not certainly not the only one, but the person who was center at the center of the maelstrom. Only Quincy could have convinced Miles that it was in his best interests to revisit this portion of his life, to let people know about that part of his legacy, because much of that had fallen into kind of disarray or had disappeared. And I have no notion what Quincy said to him that would have gotten Miles to go back and sit in front of not only that band, the birth of the cool band, but revisit the things that Miles did with Gil Evans. Some of it really wonderfully done, some of it more nostalgic because Miles was ill at the time. But the very fact that he trusted Quincy Jones speaks volumes because cure's the one. I know that can make a call to anybody in the music world. Classical, jazz or otherwise. And have their respect and they will want to do things. We are the world. For one thing. Back on the block and I'm looking at Chaka Khan. I'm listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, who and the work and get all these divas and all these musicians in on one C.D., you know.

Baker: And I think that speaks volumes, again, about the fact that they recognized that he grew up. He was younger than Bird. Bird was born in 1920. Dizzy born in 1917. Quincy, what, 1932. So you're talking about somebody who's second generation but who had absorbed and internalized this music in such a way that it had already gone through this gestation period. And now Quincy was somebody who represented somebody who could carry the legacy. And that number is dwindling at an astounding rate of speed. Every week it looks like another person's gone. Milt Jackson recently, J.J. Johnson, recently, John Lewis. And so now it's down to a few people like Quincy. These are the second generation people, but they're the people who really understand what that first generation was about because of the first generation besides Max Roach and Ray Brown and James Moody, Roy Haynes maybe and some others.

Baker: There aren't many left, but Quincy is the key. They understand and respect him. He could call them tomorrow and everyone would be in the studio in two days ready to play.

Interviewer: I just want to cut for one second. I wanted to do a T.

Interviewer: Why do you think?

Baker: I think we are all aware of our mortality. I don't think there is any. People lie about it. But I think we are all aware. But I don't think Quincy is obsessed with those kind of things.

Baker: Quincy is always. He is so grounded and so comfortable with where he came from and who he is that he can afford to think. Today and forward because he's so full of ideas. I mean, you know, as white, Moody accused me once of having a 36 hour day, 36 hour a day, I think he must have a forty two hour day because he's on the go all the time. And it's always new ideas, but he's so grounded in where he came from. You know whom we talk.

Baker: I think one of the things that's lamentable and one of the things that one is why I wanted to do this concert of his music is that I'm very disturbed that because he is so active in so many areas that people have forgotten what a giant he is in terms of jazz, big band music. But I go to Fairchild. I'm the new president elect, IEJ, which is the largest, you know, similarly of teachers in jazz. I am disturbed very much that I don't hear Quincy's music being played by the young kids and be playing and being played by college kids. Part of it is that much of it hasn't been published. But the other thing is that they get so caught up in the fact that here's a guy who could produce Thriller. You know, one of the best selling videos of all time with Michael Jackson. Or that he could do all of these other things that they forget his roots and his love. All of this comes out of jazz. And one of the things that I'm making as my.

Baker: Goal one race on death row, if you will, is to make sure that the colleges and the high schools began to play and respect the music of Quincy Jones and realize what we know, the people, my generation and the people for maybe two generations after me, whether it's the Freddie Hubbard or Jimmy Spaulding or whatever, the aficionados, the players they know. But if we don't train that group of kids, that's coming up. That legacy is somehow another altered in a way that is, I feel very unhealthy.

Interviewer: This is great. I realized, you know, you touched on it very early on and then I just sort of put it to the side. I mean. Speak to Quincy.

Interviewer: As an African-American role model, he had to endure the kind of racism on those bus trips that Clark Terry told about, you know. Standing in someone's house, but at every turn in Hollywood. He found a way to surmounted it. Now, I think.

Interviewer: I'd love your perspective on. Who he is for.

Baker: Well, I can't speak to Quincy's growing up because that's paralleled by everybody our age when segregation was the law of the land. Even the armed services were segregated. The schools are segregated. We had so few heroes we allowed to have. So what we did was go to our strengths. Most of the time, which were the areas which we work in. There's a marvelous story them to share with you. Just very quickly, Willie Ruff told me this story. He said one of his relatives. I think it might have been stationed in England during the Second World War.

Baker: And he happened to be dating an English girl. He was supposed to meet her for dinner. There was a parade coming down and he can't get across the street. He's patient for 30 minutes, 40 minutes. He still can't go. And finally, there's a break. And he goes across the street. The bobbies stopped him and said, you can't come across the street. The queen's coming. And he says, well, screw the queen. And the Bobby says, Well, screw Joe Louis. Because that's the only hero he could think of that would parallel the queen. And basically for us, it was Jackie Robinson. A little later it was a sports hero like Joe Lewis. It was Marian Anderson. It was Fletcher Henderson. It was Duke Ellington. So we had to pick our heroes and we were not allowed to have heroes in these other areas because in the movies, for instance, I. Who was there, Mantan Moreland.

Baker: It was a Robert Eddie Rochester. It was Butterfly McQueen. Not that there's anything wrong with that, because as Billie Holiday once said, when she played a maid in a movie, she said, I would rather play a maid for fifteen hundred dollars than be a maid for fifteen dollars. I'm not sure that's the exact figure, but that was the sentiment. And Quincy, when we talk, it's so wonderful because we're able to go back and talk about times where there was a camaraderie, there was a kind of magic to this because we were isolated. You know, it happened with basketball. It happened with music and with the dispersion of all of the things that came about as a result, result of integration which had to come and which should have come.

Interviewer: So. You're in a time where there are very few heroes.

Baker: So we because we were raised in a time where it was not that there were very few heroes that were there were not they were not visible. We didn't have like them across the board. It was sports.

Baker: It was religion. It was music. But music that was imposed, limitations were imposed by something external. It wasn't that we couldn't play in a symphony orchestra. It wasn't that we couldn't do these things. We were not allowed to do them. So, Quincy, like all the rest of us of that generation, we chose the avenues which were going to bear fruit. Now, Quincy became such a role model. And I think he understands this because he began and I said this at a concert was I believe was a concert. He didn't just blur those distinctions. He obliterated them. They don't even exist anymore. Now you go in borders or when they are any of those places and look into the shelf. They can no longer say, this is this and this is it, because then you say, well, where you put Quincy Jones cause he's an all of them. And sometimes it's difficult to say which is it? This is it. That and I don't think he cares about all those things.

Baker: He makes the music. Let somebody else worry about how to classify it, you know? And I think to me, that's very healthy. And it's the reason why young kids who are coming up now, cats now being generic women, men, whatever. I think more and more they're starting to look to the successes that Quincy has had. But what Quincy is making them aware of at every step along the way, and I know he will make them making them aware of this in his autobiography is that those successes were born out of hard knocks, failures, demeaning activity, lynchings in the South. People who tried everything to keep you from being who you are. And Quincy understands more than anybody else that luck is never just a gift or just a or just acquisition of skills that somebody define. Luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Quincy has been always prepared.

Interviewer: You were remarkably prepared to have so much.

Baker: Thank you. But I'm talking about somebody I love.

Interviewer: Well, let's roll it.

Interviewer: I guess I forgot ro ask who is Quincy Jones?

Baker: Quincy Jones is the colossus of contemporary music. I don't think I could say anything that would be as encompassing is that he stands astride contemporary music like no other single figure in world.

Interviewer: Who is he to you?

Baker: A dear friend and somebody if I ever had to go to war, I want to go to war with Quincy. At my side, at my back, because I trust him implicitly.

David Baker
Interview Date:
2001-07-21
Runtime:
0:43:41
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-c53dz03n3d, cpb-aacip-504-3f4kk94t1f, cpb-aacip-504-bz6154fb55
MLA CITATIONS:
"David Baker, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 21 Jul. 2001, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/345
APA CITATIONS:
(2001, July 21). David Baker, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/345
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"David Baker, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). July 21, 2001. Accessed October 25, 2021 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/345

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