Transcript:

Speaker I first met him when he was a trumpet player and I was playing with Lionel Hampton and I was very impressed because he was playing between two of the very best trumpet players in the business at the time he's playing. He was in the middle of Clifford Brown and Art Farmer. And I'm saying this guy must be really terrific.

Speaker He said between those guys, you know, and he was I mean, if I have had a great band and that trumpet section was, you know, really very stable with especially with the three of them going at it and the two guys on either side of him really making him go. I always tease him because there he had such great respect for them as players.

Speaker And in the One Land Lionel Hampton video, I remember he takes the solo so well, I.

Speaker Sometimes you wind up sticking with Lionel Hampton. Tell me how the trumpet sections worked within that band and what that sound was like and what it did to people. I never experienced that. So we need to live it through you and your sense of how it really affected people.

Speaker Lionel Hampton has always been an entertainer, and so his bands have always been the kinds of bands that just reached out and embraced you. I mean, you didn't have to do it. You sat there and he reached out to you and they were swinging. They always swinging bands. He was a drummer. So, I mean, the bands got to swing. And so they were very rhythmically oriented. And a lot of the things that they did back in those days were based on his dance band experience. And because when he was coming to the ranks, everybody, he'd play dances. And he continued that tradition till today continues now. And he has the kind of brass section. There's a lot of pressure on the back brass section. I mean, they had to play because they're all screaming above some pretty swinging read sections. And as I said, the rhythm section was just pounding away at everybody. And so know I mean, you just were forced to play in a very energetic and a very stomping kind of way because that was what they have did on the vibes and what he did on the drums and he was leading. I mean, it was not a matter of guys pushing him. He was pulling. Come on, fellas, let's let's lose that.

Speaker Quincy, sometimes your first hand is like the first rock and roll band. What does he mean by what? How is that kind of band? And I think what he's trying to do is about the frenzy that it incited. How is that being? How is spin related to rock and roll? What's the connection?

Speaker I think Quincy is right when he refers to HAMP as being the first rock and roll band, because HAMP always as a drummer, wanted to just make people get up and scream and and and some kind of physical emotional projection. He wanted to get it back. He used these. He would jump up on Topo's his drum and dance on the drama out how to drum. Still, he's not a small guy, but he didn't literally jump up on top of the drama, did outrageous things that rock, you know, 20 years later, rock guys were doing great.

Speaker We think Quincy learned from.

Speaker I think he when Quincy worked with Little and he had learned really about various things that go on in a big band and as a person in a good section, he realized the relationship between that section and another good section. I mean, because the pressure is on in bands which jazz bands which are divided into brass sections and read sections and rhythm sections. And so the pressure is on in in a section kind of way to to make your section what you want it to be. If, you know, if the brass section is going to be pulling and you want your part of it. If if the rhythm section says we got to drive these guys, you have to know how to respond to that, you know? And so he learned from the inside. The way to make things happen in a band so he can say from experience when he's telling guys in a band, and I want this, I want that. And, you know, because he's been there.

Speaker Excellent. We are in the shadow. OK, so that's the question. Oh. Oh. Do we want to.

Speaker You hearing. I mean, are you really taking presenter's. Yes, sir.

Speaker It's OK.

Speaker He's your friend too much for me. Oh, yeah. No, sir. Okay. He's pretty my name. Next time I want to get a monitor that shows us that we can take it with 60, 65 monitors.

Speaker There's no one ever seeking.

Speaker There you go. There you go. Someday, the next millennium.

Speaker We talked to Lionel Hanson with what he learned from him. Well, you know, you talked about what you learned just in terms of structure of band. But what about simply Quincy grab something of that entertainment value as well?

Speaker Unquestionably. HAMP was a just a wonderful influence on everyone who worked with him. And Quincy really picked up a lot about show business from him. But then Quincy picked up a lot about show business from a whole lot of folks. I mean, so I mean, he'd continued his education in that regard from various people that he worked with or without Sinatra or if OBC. I mean, Basey Dizzy Gillespie was the band that he toured with after. After him. I was a wonderfully entertaining band because Dizzy did all kinds of bebop in the land of bloody and kinds of things that were funny things that that were a part of his kind of show biz, which was quite different from Lyle Hampton. But. But another side of the same coin.

Speaker Great. What about you know, I think Quincy first gets to Paris with 53, and I know you were you have firsthand experience of that. Describe what Paris was like, you know, after the water in the early 50s for jazz musicians.

Speaker Well, by the time Quincy got to Paris, it had changed from the Paris that I knew some to some extent, the I went over with Don Redman's band. And we were the first band to go to Europe after the first jazz band. After the Second World War, when we got there, we were treated like celebrities, even though, you know, I'd made maybe two records or something. Nobody knew who I was here, but over there, they knew whether those two records and, you know, they and they were very the jazz world was divided into two groups, two very separate and unequal groups. They were one group was the old guys, the guys that Pinochet said, you know, the New Orleans, all of the traditional musicians were lumped into that category. Cindy Bouchet was a monster star as far as the French were concerned. So that was the context in which Daisy and Charlie Parker and Miles Davis and others came. So by the time Quincy got there, the Charles Daylon, a people who when we were there, would getting their first taste of bebop because we had done bias and we had several other musicians in the man who had already played with Dizzy and who knew the be bop repertoire and so forth. And and so we got there. I played with Dizzy prior to going over. And so we were talking we were asked as much about bebop is probably more than then. We were asked about anything else. So when when Quincy got there, the idea they here are guys who were actually playing the style which is evolved by this time. And so you've got Clifford Brown and the farmer who are another generation of what. What has happened in just two or three years. And what you find is people are looking to Quincy to say, well, you know, describe what do these guys do? Tell us, you know, you're an arranger. You know, show us to, you know, give us an idea in terms of the music we understand as to what they are doing. So he was in an enviable position as an arranger trumpet player because he could easily not only played with these guys, but he can write it for European guys to play great.

Speaker What about, though, just the idea of, you know, you hear these stories of what it was like touring this country as a jazz band, African-American players kind of like versus in Paris.

Speaker Why did Harrison Ford jazz musicians at that time?

Speaker Freedom, the kind of freedom that one got. Going to Paris was unparalleled in my experience and an experience of many people in my generation. You felt like a human being. I mean, there was no pressure in terms of can I stay in this hotel? Can I go to this place? Will this guy cut my hair? You know, I put. Am I gonna be embarrassed? It really. And strangely enough. You go to Paris and. And people treated you based on your talent. They are their assessment of your town. We say, oh, this guy's interesting. I find him attractive. I want to talk to him so far. And it had a great deal to do with the fact that many people were being or finding the freedom in jazz, something very enviable. The French were the first to point out to many of us that the individual freedom that was found in a jazz group was on a like anywhere else. And they pointed to symphony orchestras. They pointed to other kinds of musical ensembles. And they said, we'll see. None of those folks have the kind of individual freedom. I mean, if you've got a five piece band, every one of the five guys can be going in five different directions, you know? And yet it works. And they wanted to know why it was so is very interesting position to be in where people respected something that was not not only taken for granted in the States, but put down. I mean, all those black guys play and it's you know, it's not something that's on par with Paul Whiteman or in Paul by with these really good bands picking up chairs or whatever.

Speaker Great. I mean, you painted great picture of Paris's freedom. But let's just go back a little bit on that. I said my question by mistake. Tell me here. Jazz band plays They can't stay in a hotel. They can't get food. You know, people look down on it. It's not treated like an art form. And then just very quickly, back into that sort of A.B., if you will. I mean, you know, if you're touring here in the 40s and 50s in a jazz band, how are you treated?

Speaker One of the problems in the 40s after the war, we thought the black musicians thought things would be better, but they weren't. I mean, if you were touring, you still couldn't stay in many places you were. Places you could need. Places you couldn't buy. Clothing you couldn't. It was you were second still a second class citizen, although maybe you spent time in the army or armed forces, something like that. So it was very frustrating. Many of us didn't want to tour the South because in some places north of Washington, D.C., you could stay in good hotels, some in Philadelphia, New York. There were places you could say there were hotels in this area that we're taping in where I couldn't stay. And in those not only because I couldn't afford it, but they would they wouldn't. You know, I'd go to the Theresa Hotel in Harlem. That was where black people stayed for the most part, all with friends. It was built into the system. And so racial prejudice really was a point of a very serious problem for black musicians. He had several things to go with when he worked in this area. There were many places that he could go on to on 50 Second Street. 50 Second Street is is the place where jazz, the whole history of jazz was was played. People don't talk about the fact that there was a place called Leon, Leon and Eddie's and another there were two clubs on jazz, on 50 jackassery. The black people were not welcome it. And so that was it was it was it was a big deal that we were playing in the Deuce's, in the Onex and places like that. But the other two, there were a couple of clubs that we couldn't go into. And so when you look at that at home and this is the the top of what you're going to get as a jazz musician, I think, to demonstrate here in New York. And then you go to Europe and you're playing, it's all play out. You're playing the fine classical similar to comparable to Carnegie Hall. In those days or at the Metropolitan, you're playing in those kinds of alls and getting the same kind of respect that European artists get. It's very it was very heady stuff. I mean, it was. It really was. It made you reassess what you wanted to do as a not just as a musician, but as human being.

Speaker Right. Thank you. That was that was terrific. That's certainly the Goodwill Tour. Six. What is Quinsy Day? Who invites him and what's the idea?

Speaker I can't imagine now. You know, President Bush or President Clinton, one of these guys singing jazz group around the world as a goodwill gesture. Describe how at that moment. Why? Why did that make sense? The first person leading with who he was and why he chose him and so on.

Speaker Well, I'm not sure that I know the answer to that question. I know that he went with the Disney. The Disney picked offered. Right. Right. Yeah. Okay.

Speaker That's all. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker One thing about Quincy, it was that all of the great musicians were aware of this youngster coming along who was really we were expecting great things for him because he was you immediately. His his enthusiasm. The manner in which he applied himself. He knew that he was he was going to really come up with some interesting things because of what he was already doing with the. He was orchestrating things that Dizzy and Charlie Parker and others were playing. Not a lot of guys did that as authentically in those days as he did. And so that immediately got desis attention. This he was an arranger. He was a composer. And to hear this kid coming along and doing these kinds of things, it's going over here to do that for me, you know, and take some of that weight off. I'll just play the trumpet and let you do that, you know? And he did. And he got dizzy was Dizzy Gillespie was a wonderful musician, but he was a terrible orchestra leader. I mean, he couldn't rehearse a band. And and Quincy could. Dizzy loved to play so much that that I know when I worked with him. And I remember on one occasion, he just he went to hear some of the solos that he had, guys who who played solos. So we did rehearsal. Instead of rehearsing the things and getting them together. He'd be listening to your solo or whatever the guy's like. He asked me to go, okay, you can do that. And so as a result, he needed someone like Quincy who had the discipline and who the guys respected and who could whip the band into shape and make it sound like a real swinging band, the kind of thing that Disney was proud to stand in front of.

Speaker I just recall something that you said once before, which, of course, could make it into the Bravo profile, but I thought was a profound idea, which is that 1956 sending Disney around the world. He could go places and represent America in a way that politicians couldn't.

Speaker Tell me about that. Once.

Speaker Won. One of the things that has interested me for many years, and it was particularly important in the Quincy Jones development, was the fact that the State Department realized during the Second World War that jazz was it was a political could be used as a political tool because of what other people, not what we thought about it, but because what other people around the world thought about it. And so they sent jazz musicians to that, to various places to to tour. And when Dizzy Gillespie was invited to go to South America, that was a result of the fact that the vice president, the later president Richard Nixon, was was booed. People throw things at him.

Speaker I mean, he was very badly treated and he was the second in command of this great nation. And so they sent this band to South America.

Speaker He's treated the way you expect this this is to be treated. I mean, there were parades and people were were going all over the place. And you get he gets off the off the plane and the photographers are there. And it's a big deal. And they were absolutely right. How significant?

Speaker Great. Great.

Speaker What happened to Quinsy when he tried to take what he learned from all these other band leaders and assemble the super band, the unbelievable players he gets for free? Describe what he's trying to do.

Speaker And then ultimately what Quincy Jones, in wanting to be a band leader, was given what he thought was going to be a golden opportunity. And he jumped at it. Oh, man. This is what I've been waiting for. Here's a chance to go abroad with a major star who is going to be carrying the burden of getting people into hall. So that's cool. I've got all of these the well-known movie stars and stage stars that Pearl Bailey and and the Nicholas brothers and so forth. And so the show's got to be the people got to love it. It's going to be going to run forever. And in the meantime, I could get my band, too, into the state. Then when I come back to the states, I'll run all these bands off of the stage, you know? And so, you know, the people he picked could have easily done. It was a great band with the wonderful guys like Jerome Richardson. And, well, the Phil Woods is just the usual suspects for him, all the great musicians that he had been recording with and that he had worked with. And so this was a unique opportunity. The problem was Chobe is a show biz. And I mean, you can't figure out what looks like May a B.B.. It may be a mega hit for many reasons, just doesn't work. So he finds himself stranded in Europe with his huge budget because he's paying the guys well. And and and, you know, he has no way to get home. I mean, they're really in bad shape financially. So he gets the borrows money from different people and and to try to to to work and earn enough. And at one point, he realizes that's just not going to work. And so he really had to not only write the movies and do other other kinds of things very quickly and try to get into something that would support the band. But you can't run off and write for a record company or for a movie, and you've got all of these guys waiting on the sideline to be paid. You've got to you've got to work. So it was in a real dilemma. I'm surprised that he could keep it together as long as he did. And ultimately, he was able to get the money to to come back home and to pay off the various guys that he owed one. He got some money from publishing companies. He got some money from record companies and so forth. But he had to really hawk his soul to get that he owed when he came back. I mean, he was he was very much in debt to the people who'd helped him get the keep the band afloat and then come back.

Speaker So when he comes back, he sure he gets this opportunity from Irving Green and Mercury Records. He assumes the position that African-American never done. I mean, that's why he's all the way down, but he rockets back up.

Speaker Well, he had borrowed a lot of money.

Speaker It's the only way that everything was going to get his money back was to put him in a position where he could really earn the kind of money that would pay back the money he borrowed, which was great for him because he really otherwise he couldn't believe he was not hirable. I mean, he he couldn't perform and earn the kind of money that he needed to pay off his debts. So the idea of becoming a vice president was wonderful because it put him in a position to work with people beyond jazz. And this was his first opportunity because Quincy Jones in those days was a real. He made jazz out of everything he did. I mean, it really was his epitome, the epitome of what he wanted to do was what kinds of things that those two trumpet players I was talking about, Art Farmer and Clifford Brown, were doing. I mean, that was that was a kind of thing that you heard that in all of his work, that quality of variety playing and so forth. And so, you know, for him to say, well, I mean, to take a pop singer and do something meant a whole change in an ethic, a whole change in direction. And he was such a good musician and such a strong person himself that he could make this adjustment without losing the the the real thing that that I feel is basic. Quincy Jones The amazing thing to me is that as long as I've known him from very beginning to now, he has never lost it. And that's what you do to write for people who are doing pop music. I mean, by far bye by jazz musicians. Standard, this is terrible. I mean, this is there is no improvisation, there's no feeling of the kind of freedom that we're talking about. I mean, he look for the very best in that style and said, well, OK, like Duke Ellington says, there are two kinds of music, good and bad. That's what's good about this. And so he went right for the jugular vein or whatever. What he felt was, hey, this is really what this kind of music is about. And that's one of the reasons that he has the respect of pop, people of jazz, people of blues. Anybody that that is into music realizes that this guy is looking for the best in their style.

Speaker You push your glass, right? I was going to ask me a little bit, but if you're good, you know that, right?

Speaker That was great, because that's one of the reasons why everyone seems to like it.

Speaker They do. They do. I mean, and, you know, it really know I.

Speaker I'm sorry. Maybe you're right. I just. Were you really free and easy? Okay, here's a broad question. Just wait for the bus to go. In the music world.

Speaker Who's like Quincy? How can we understand what he does? You know, you say, oh, I'm going to see a movie. What was it like? Well, it's sort of like this or like that. How do you place Quincy?

Speaker Quincy Jones is absolutely unique as a musician, as a producer, as an arranger. Everything that he does has a very personal stamp. If he's producing movies, producing record, whatever it is that he does, he seems to be able to do what the best band leaders used to do.

Speaker Duke Ellington, in my view, was one of the greatest bandleaders ever in that he could take an assortment of people whose sound was different from one and one from the other, who's attitudes, whose everything is, is guaranteed to keep this band from sounding like a good man. Yet they sounded perfect. They sounded just just you know, nobody can imitate the band at their best. You know, Quincy has taken that kind of quality of being able the Ellington quality and being able to put an assortment of people together and make it work. And I I think about some things that that the projects he did early on where everybody was talking about West Coast music is cool. And Quincy made it one of his early records was go west. And he went west and took a whole bunch of guys who were West Coast musicians, but all who swung. I mean, it really was funky. All of the things that you say about the East Coast jazz. He said this is West Coast. And it was I mean, people like Carl Perkins and a whole bunch of guys like that, that Leroy Vinegar guys who were noted swingers. And yet what he was saying in his personal way was, you know, you guys can can say that Jerry Mulligan and the specific guys who were playing in the so-called West Go style is what? But here's some of the same guys in another context.

Speaker I mean, I love that point. And I think it's it's it's one I want to hammer home even more deeply. In a way, Quincy's committed to just breaking down the barriers, not only musically, but also racially. And I mean, describe from your perspective how Quincy's view, both musically and just as a person, is all about in the same way that Ellington says good music, but bringing people together through his work and breaking down barriers as opposed to sort of just, you know, Miles, you know, putting his own particular stamp on something. I'm sorry, sir.

Speaker You just move your chair over this way, sir. Which way? This way.

Speaker He's taken three.

Speaker When we come down a little bit. That's right. Yes. You ride those glasses high. I'm not too much. Let me get it. Really? That's good. Yeah. Before every answer, you just give it a push out. Think be fine. So random breaks down barriers.

Speaker Quincy Jones breaks down all kinds of barriers. The who else could take someone like Michael Jackson in and do something that not only stretches him, but does it in the most successful way? He learned an awful lot when he learned an awful lot from Ray Charles, because Ray is the sightless person, had such empathy for all kinds of music and so many things that those of us with sight may overlook or choose to ignore. He would hear and react to in a very personal way. And then you pick that up, you know, and among other things, said, you know, that's a great idea. He's Quincy Jones is grateful for using things that other people may initiate or be famous for, but using in his own way and saying that's a great idea. I think I'll do this with it, you know? And and so I and he takes the best that he can find and just puts it into a unique perspective. I remember one time I did a record capability of a plus for flutes as we're proud of it. And I showed it to him and I said, you know, this is this is something. This is as the last lap flavor and these four flutes. And he knew the full Jerome Richardson and Frank West guys that he was working at about three or four weeks later. He called me for a commercial that he was doing. He had eight of the flute family.

Speaker Everything from the piccolo all the way down to to the bass flute.

Speaker And it was for quick. One of those commercials that he was doing in those days. And it was a lesson in how to write for that kind of reading instrument. I mean, that was just beautiful. I said, well, thanks, Prof.

Speaker Thanks for the last that I had. Next time I will make a record. I'll call you.

Speaker But he takes things that that are really something and says, what if, you know, maybe if I did this with it. Are you going to use rules? Well, when I use use use the bass fluid here or the outer flute or whatever, you know. And it a totally different sound. And we can do these kinds of things. It really stretches the ideas. He's not content to just to say, well, that's a good idea. I think a tool just like that.

Speaker Right. What do you learn from Basey time?

Speaker I mean, Quincy has always thought about swinging. How time is approached. So this is to work with Count Basie and to really work with the classic jazz rhythm section and the master of that rhythm section basically himself. Bass, he was one of those people who one of the few that I, I know of who I thought of as having absolute time. Basey, Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Earl Garner are people who come immediately to mind to me for always picking the exact tempo for a pick, a piece of music. Ellington would sit there for for a minute and just play until finally he said, Oh, well, once he went, that was the perfect time for a tempo for that particular piece. Basey was even more graphic. I mean, basically, Wood will play and he might just the band would he'd wave the band out sometime and, you know, and and began to play. He rarely would he play stride piano or something. But every now and then, he'd weigh the band up and and just the rhythm section would play and they would settle and the tempo would settle right into where he wanted it to settle. And and then he'd bring that back in and then they would do whatever he wanted them to do. And Quincy really recognized the the the difference in what metronomic Lee is very not very much. I know you say this a metronome marking 120. Well, that might go hundred twenty two because that was really where that was.

Speaker Quincy, I mean, I just got it like yesterday I got this gauley excuse me, man, I spoke to other guy, the people who introduced him to and taught him to the business side of music. And I'm wondering if you can tell me what it was that Quincy was able to grasp about the business side of music that no one else has ever really gotten because it was that easy to get.

Speaker You know, there'd be a lot of Quincy. That's right.

Speaker Why did he pick up about. Certainly. Brilliant composer, arranger play or whatever. But what is it about the business side of music that he understood and was able to capitalize on when Quincy Jones was stranded in Europe?

Speaker He realized the importance of being a good businessman as well as being a good musician. It was necessary he had to really look at every aspect of the business to try to get home. I mean, because you've got all of these guys who are personal friends of yours who you are responsible for and who you really feel that, you know, this is my responsibility. I got him over here and get him back. And so he looked at every aspect of what it meant to be a composer, writing for various pieces, that range of writing for different people, producing records. He looked he looked at all of the aspects of the business of music and realized that there are a lot of things that are done just because they are done. There's no rationale for doing that, you know. So why do that, you know? And so he began to formulate what in these days we would call a business plan and and said, you know, there are certain things that are gonna help me really get you know, if I ever get back on my feet, I mean, I'll be able to do that.

Speaker I'm not going to do this. I'm not going to do that.

Speaker I got these are the areas that I know work because the others don't. And, you know, and. And I look at being put into position where you're responsible for budgets, where you you see why you have to do certain things, certain ways and everything. He had that not many black guys, not many jazz musicians were put into that position. There were two different kinds of budgets. There were budgets for black artists and black budgets for white artists. And they were very, very different in terms of what the contract read. What you get with this guy gets what you know. And so he was privy to all it. He realized that there are a lot of different things that that are there, that they are things that I need to look into and see how if I were in that position, I would handle it. And just like he approached the music he approaches, I believe that he approaches this business. I think the you reflect jazz musicians tend to their music tense and their lives tend to reflect who they are. I mean, the kind of person I mean, if you're an addictive person, that's reflected. If you're not, that's reflected if you are a workaholic. That's the I mean, whatever it is, it comes out in your work. And Quincy is a workaholic in the end. And he puts his time to good use. He really sees all these possibilities. And he says he now has been able to see him from the bottom. See him from the middle and see him from from top of the heap. So he knows what it is like, that old joke. I know what it is to be poor. I know what it is. To be rich and rich is better.

Speaker Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker What about in Hollywood?

Speaker I mean, clearly there was Benny Carter and Duke maybe did one score, but Quincy position, Quincy Jones is the kind of guy who provides opportunities for other people. He realizes he knows how to delegate. He knows that he can't do it all. And so many of the things that he farmed out, he had different people help him with were it was done in a way because of his own personality and the the affection and respect that the people that he worked with and who worked with him had, that helped him to, to a great extent, get around some of. The things that were going on in Hollywood. Hollywood is very racist place in terms of how they used to and not just jazz musicians, but how they use Lena Horne, how they used any number of people who were people of color by how they use women, how they use to any any kind of minority. Did you think of Anthony Quinn just died. And I was looking at a documentary or rather a conversation that he had with someone and he mentioned what it was like to be a Mexican in Hollywood when he first came. So this was the kind of Hollywood that Quincy came into and they had misused Calvin Jackson. They had misused to Benny Carter. They had misused it. Not many people were qualified to do much better things. But Quincy was the kind of person who, having achieved what he achieved in the record business, was able to parlay that into the movie business and say, well, you know, some of these meat meetings, you know, like I can get over in the meeting if I do make some of the stuff that worked in the record company meetings. And so he used his experiences as as an executive, as someone who showed that he was a responsible person and just earned the respect of people who gave him more and more to do. And he, in turn, kept spreading that around to the place where he could use many of the things which other people were afraid to use. I mean, you knew you're going to get some blues. You knew you were going to get some some jazz. You knew you're going to get some funky stuff, whatever was going on that would reach out and touch people. He was going to be able to kind of get that into what he was doing and it would work. He wasn't forcing it, saying, well, you know, I'm I'm a jazz musicians. I got a little jazz over here. If it didn't work, he didn't use it.

Speaker But if it did work, he really is using the synthesizer multi-track recording. You know, I guess at one point when Phil Spector, Ramone, someone said, look at this stereo thing, but is you you to the fact that there are all these different moments. Obviously, Fine-grained is very record, but somehow he manages to be a part of these different technological developments as well.

Speaker Quincy Jones was the first guy that I ever came in contact with who was really top notch musician and yet was very much at home with the technology. I mean, most of us have to be from myself. I'm sort of knocked over by a lot of the technical stuff. I mean it.

Speaker I didn't want to spend that much time on the technique. I just want to play. And I wanted to come out right. If you're shooting a picture, you know what to do with that. I'm someone's taping. He knows what to do. I don't want to know. And but Quincy was just the opposite.

Speaker He'd really found it fascinating. You know how these things work hard to get the kinds of sounds that he was hearing in his head. And not only that, but before multitracking and things like that, he was hearing these combinations of things that you could hear live. And he wanted to know how I can replicate that or get this kind of sound that I'm hearing in my ears. And I'm really not hearing it on this on this record. You know how I go about getting it. And so I had the curiosity and the fact that he was in a position to experiment with these things. It just helped him do wonderful things. I know that on one occasion, a group that our trio that I was leading with, Oscar Pettifer and Charlie Smith were asked to be. Quincy wrote something for us along with a violinist that he was working with named at the Karski. Harry was a phenomenal musician who played a guy who could not improvise when he played the violin. But he could write anything. Quincy played it could. He could read anything that Quincy wrote and play it as though he were making it up, which in the 19 late 40s, early 50s, was just phenomenal because most guys who played violin couldn't wait. But he had this quality. And Quincy recognized it and used it. He wrote what amounted to a string quartet kind of arrangement for Harlem to play. We laid down the track, the tree, the tree of my trio laid down the track. Oscar was basically also played. Cello. So he played the cello, dubbed in the cello part on this. The other parts when we were we made that laid down a basic track. I heard Lukowski played the melody. He came back later and laid in the other parts. So that you heard for four or five part harmony, whatever. Quincy was writing. So he played the the be all a party baby. The straight path and so forth. And I. But Quincy describes this as putting a lot of a different tape recorders in sync. Now, who's going to take all the time?

Speaker Do you hire five guys and they do it. You do it immediately. But but but he decided that he's going to do it because he can. Ha ha.

Speaker Five guys who could do what Lukowski did. So he he solved that problem by having him do it.

Speaker All right.

Speaker Let's talk briefly about a major, major moment in your life, which happened in 1974.

Speaker You get hit with this medical problem the same. Tell us what happened.

Speaker Well, I can tell you, I heard that Quincy had an aneurysm. Right? And I it just took me out because I don't want an aneurysm is and it's an explosion in the brain. And I'm thinking, you know, this great musician. I mean, he's gone. He's know he won't be able to do this, you know? And, you know, I was just just I call him and other people call him. And it really was a shock. I was so delighted that he was able. He's one of the few people I know that's recovered from this. And and I guess he kills you usually, you know. And but anyway, he he was strong enough and God willing. Did he pull through? You can't go through anything like that no matter who you are and not be changed, given his innate sensitivity. It's a very, very sensitive human being. He just said, well, OK, I've been given another chance. I want to do something with it. And and he just continued to move forward, which is remarkable. It's a remarkable man. I mean, it's it's. I don't know what helped him pull through. I mean, I was I was on the East Coast. He was on the West Coast. But all the love and and people around him and the people who were there for him at that time seemed to have made him into the kind of Quincy Jones that we know now, because that's a very special person and a very as I said, he always did have certain kind of sensitivity and certain empathy for many things of quality. But this seemed to make it really just come into focus so that he realized I don't have time to waste. I mean, so let's cut to the chase and just go and do the the things which are important that I get from my view.

Speaker Right.

Speaker He said we didn't even touch a lot of TV stuff. Cosby shows Sanford and son Ironside again. How do you place this kind of work? Is it distinguished and is in the same way that he's breaking down the doors in Hollywood feature films? Is he a black pioneer in this area? You know, in the 60s and 70s? Are there? I don't know. Are there other black guys writing music for different TV shows? I'm sorry.

Speaker Just thanks.

Speaker Quincy Jones was the only guy really getting the kind of jobs and getting the kind of attention back in the 60s that that he got. I got the feeling that a lot of people were trying to trip him and trying to say, well, he's going to fall on its face. He can't do this. And and yet he really was the talent. He had the desire and he had the ability to to work through whatever product problems he was given. And I can't under score, I'm sure that the things that he went through in as an artist after the aneurysm and so forth, he was determined to succeed in many these days before, but after that even more so. And I think all of the things that he did prior to having an aneurysm were things that fortified him and really helped him focus on what he could do to from that point in his life to make to be a success. So when he started writing themes for state television shows, when he started producing television shows, when he started doing many other things along those lines, it was different. I mean, you know, he's like a jazz musician all over. I mean, it's all always different. I mean, it's it's not it's not the solo he play. He didn't play the same solo on body and Soul that he played on another. I mean, this was this is very much what he's done with his picture career in terms of writing for the movies. And I know there's a different process, but in his work, the individualities is always the thing that that is lasting. You go back and play those soundtracks and you listen to the kinds of things where he has a classically trained group of singers singing anything but classical music. But he's got them doing what he wants them to do. He's got a stone blues singer doing whatever that. And it works in that context. He's got someone who's playing rock and roll or doing something. And it works in the context of of of that particular idea for a storyline. And he he knew that there is a great storyteller. Pommies detail stories in his music when he's writing something before Lena and Lenny. Lenny? Oh, well, he's doing other kinds of things which are broader base. But he says in a song like For Lena and Linda here to hear people check this out. You know, and he really has taken the kinds of attitudes that distinguish him as a person and put into all of his work. He has his work. When you look at the sum total of his work is one of the most unique bodies of work. Whether you're talking about records, whether you're talking about as an arranger, whether you're talking about someone who writes for film and or TV in any of those categories. Separate from one another, you find the same individuality.

Speaker They're buried in that. In that answer is something I'd love you to do, was a code or whatever, which is that you mentioned. He sort of took his abilities as a jazz player who could improvise into each of those areas. Help! Help. Just just lay that out for us and help us understand it. In a way, he it's it's why it's his training in that media that allows him to do, you know, be a media mogul and, you know, in all these different areas, not just a TV guy or what Quincy Jones as a jazz musician really is a jazz musician through and through that that permeates everything he does.

Speaker I mean, you learn to improvise. You learn to think on your feet. You learn to respond quickly if you're going to play in a section. If he's going to play in a section, he has to. I've got one guy with one sound on my left ear and another guy with another sound on my right ear. I've kind of know how I can blend with that. You know, besides besides, there's a guy down in front of me who's who's playing, I have almost a half tone shop. And so how do I make this work, you know? And so as a jazz musician, he has all of these things to work with musically. Music teaches you to think. And the problems that you solve as a musician are related in some respects to the problems you have to solve as a human being. And I can't think of any better example of that. Quincy.

Speaker OK. I go down in time. Yeah, we're OK. That's capital one sec. Let me just check my different question. OK. Hi.

Speaker This is a question we that source can help sum up every day. I ask everybody. It's like with. Some people, it's a broad question that you can answer it any way you like. That's the point. I don't want to pigeonhole you with some of the other questions. They're sort of looking for something. Here's a question you can answer anyway. Who is Quincy Jones?

Speaker Quincy Jones is a leader. He's an experimental someone who experiments a lot.

Speaker He is someone who takes chances.

Speaker He's a remarkable person because he loves what he does. And that love is reflected in the same way that a great performer comes on stage and you know that that person loves what he or she does. And that just sort of envelops you, embraces you. He has so much that appeals to so many other people in so many different ways that it's like he's a multiple personality. I mean, that usually that's used in a derogatory way. But the sum total of those personalities that I'm thinking of are all good. And they're different, but they're all good. I mean, he's he's a good friend to many people. He's a mentor to many people. He's a discoverer of many people. He's given so many opportunities to people who do things, have quality. And that quality may not to. Could have gone unnoticed had he not put the finger and said, check this out and put that person in a place where he or she could really grow and do whatever that was that he was pointing to. This is a remarkable use of talent. Many producers, many people who are in a position of hiring thousands of people and being responsible for millions of dollars get carried away with power. And just like he told the people at the great record that he did leave your egos at the door, he's always left his job. I mean, it is ego. He has as much as he goes. Anyone else. I mean, he knows how good he is, but that doesn't enter into his way of working. I mean, that gets in the way so that so that doesn't exist as far as he's concerned. He uses what he needs to use of his own personality, of his knowledge, of his experience to make things work. So he is, for me, the consummate jazzmen.

Speaker What do you think is from your perspective? Oh, it was the Michael Jackson albums. That could be considered the pinnacle. Is there any particular thing that he did on its own that you think stands as the greatest? Lindbergh flew the Atlantic. That's clearly what Lindbergh did. It's hard with Quincy. I was curious whether it was any individual thing that you would want to say. Maybe it's impossible to know the only.

Speaker There's no individual thing that he's done that that sets him aside from me because there's so many things that he does so well. We did a couple of albums together many years ago. And one of my all time favorites is what he did with the a very good score. But I mean, he did something totally different with My Fair Lady. And I go back to that record today and hear things in it that I chuckle about, because he is a guy who, though we never worked together, I mean, I never worked for him or know in a group, you know, over extended period.

Speaker He so understood my style of playing at that particular time. When I was doing that, I could not have gotten a better accompaniment. I mean, it made me stretch. It made me do some things on on that record that just worked. And it really was. That's the kind of thing that I have. It makes me respect him so much because as I said, this is just coming through the, you know, the air from him to me. And, you know, I said, look, I'd like to do this on. I'm thinking of one particular get me to church on time where I wanted to do something in fourth. Now, I didn't play it the way he would. He wrote it, but he gave me an idea of something like that that I still use in terms of accompanying it and playing different kinds of melody. And I am now having done that my way. I'm now doing many of the things that are inherent in the way he actually wrote the solo for me to play the in the beginning that I use instead of using force that I use for notes. He was five and and I didn't want the five at that particular case because I couldn't rhythmically do what I wanted with with five as opposed to four.

Speaker Now, later in my life I could do a five work a lot with children education. I mean to pigeonhole you in any way, but speak if you want to. I mean, as I said, Quincy is going to be doing this thing with kids next week. He really has a sense of helping to mentor and inspire the next generation. From your perspective, how do you see the work that he does in that area?

Speaker It's interesting to me that Quincy wants to teach and wants to do things that are put him in the position of being a mentor to people that he doesn't know, because he's certainly done a classic job of being a mentor to people that he does know.

Speaker He to take this wonderful experience, this level of experience that he's had and to put it to use the things which are practical to help people at a beginning level or at a lower level of achievement than he's normally where he works with the top people in the world on every in every sense of. What do you talk in business with your talking music? Every area. He works it. So he's going to walk down those steps and come down to the bottom of that staircase and say, OK, here's some folks that can use it. I think it's beautiful.

Speaker Thank you. That's great. Let me just triple check my questions, and I think we've pretty much covered it.

Speaker Um, here's a sort of, uh.

Speaker Tricky or sensitive area? Coming back to the Paris thing. Yeah. Quincy and I don't know the exact date, but sometime in the 50s, I think first he has his daughter. Then he gets married a few years later to Jerry Caldwell, Joe. You know, he marries a white lady, which at the time, it's not like mid 60s or, you know, it's it's. It's what's the word? What does that say to you about Quincy and his life here, buddy in Paris? It's sort of different, isn't it? He lives with her there. It's not really an issue. No, people have him here. And then maybe why Paris is important.

Speaker Quincy Jones, growing up in Seattle, Washington, experienced relationships with white and black people. People from minorities, people who were not in a way that many people in Chicago and further south did not. And so he was comfortable with people as people. And so he ended up marrying a young lady who was white and which was fine. They they lived here in New York. And there was problems because New York is not as cosmopolitan in that regard as black people like to think, especially what in those days it wasn't. And so they had problems with people who did not like seeing a black man with white woman. And when they went to Paris, it was just so different in Europe. I mean, people didn't. They got by that very quickly and went onto are these nice people? Are the people I want to be with her, but whatever it is. And that was fine. And it gave him a feeling. Well, this is the way it should be. And so when he returned in every way that he could make sure that it was as close to the way that he thought it should be as it is, he could make it. And he's succeeded in the great to great extent. He has never. He's he's one of the many guys that I know who really look at people as people. And look, they're not a lot of folks who can look past ethnic and racial and and other kinds of obstacles that they place in front of situations where two people meet on the street and they're both carrying baggage and of one sort or another. And many people can be on that.

Speaker Right. It's kind of just like triple check. My question, music world. We understand him. Do you?

Speaker Oh, one other thing on that, that it just occurred to me at the time that that Quincy was going to Paris. And it was it was married to Gerry. There was a Richard Rodgers. Rodgers and Hammerstein to call you have to be carefully taught from South Pacific. And that really touches on the very situation that he was living in in those days.

Speaker Excellent. Sorry.

Speaker It's my party. I was just seeing it on TV staff. We talked about this last question politically. Does Quincy or did you have a political agenda? How does he break down barriers in terms of using music politically or what's your sense of social consciousness? And I'm sorry, just that your glasses.

Speaker Quincy Jones handles his agenda when it comes to social issues in a very wise way, I think. I remember getting a call from him one time and he said, I'd like you to come out with me. We're doing the thing with Jesse Jackson in Chicago. Cannonball is gonna be there. And some other folks that, you know, we all know. And he'll be at his church. And it's going to be, you know, along the lines of things that he had been doing with Dr. King and so forth. And I it was very it wasn't the Quincy Jones who is making a big personal appearance. I mean, he was a guy that did pull all this together for Jesse, who he respected was working with at the time. And it really helped the things that Quincy cared about in Chicago and that he felt that Jesse could really be doing some special things on a personal basis in an area that he was very familiar with. And he just went all out to help him with his radio show and do other things to make it work. And that's just one of many things that, you know, I was personally involved in for a minute went that he did, but they actually had school and kind of a what we do now workshops and the kinds of things that we now do in schools. They were doing in that neighborhood and to Jesse's church. And he has always gone back to Berkeley and and was very helpful in getting people who were of color. And but the first order of business was that they were talented. And and Berkeley, when he went there, was called Schillinger House. I mean, it made back in the early days. So he really experienced what was going on in Boston at the time. Boston is not the great liberal town that is sometimes pictures. And as and so the he's had many experiences that give him an idea of things that need to be done. So whether it's producing something like The Color Purple or whether it's paying tuition for a kid, I anonymously, you know, he's he's he's done things like that. But he's he's also helped make some of the with his talent is made some of the kinds of statements that that I like to see with Sidney Poitier and some of things he's done in films and so forth.

Speaker Right. Sidney Poitier on the line interview next month.

Speaker He's got a new biography.

Speaker Yeah. Well, thank you so much. The one thing we need to do is just for 20 seconds. What's the buzz in that little room?

Speaker This is room chow. Plus Delta plus no, no.

Speaker In room two. I always feel like I should start eating the right.

Speaker It's been a week.

Billy Taylor
Interview Date:
2001-06-08
Runtime:
1:07:59
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-2b8v98044k, cpb-aacip-504-8p5v698v5w, cpb-aacip-504-ff3kw58453
MLA CITATIONS:
"Billy Taylor, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 08 Jun. 2001, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/365
APA CITATIONS:
(2001, June 08). Billy Taylor, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/365
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Billy Taylor, Quincy Jones: In The Pocket." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). June 08, 2001. Accessed May 20, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/365

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