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Quincy Jones - His Life in Music

Quincy Jones

His Life in Music

By Clarence Bernard Henry
Series: American Made Music Series

Hardcover : 9781617038617, 192 pages, October 2013
Paperback : 9781496814883, 210 pages, August 2017

A biography of one of the most influential creators and talents of the twentieth century


Quincy Jones (b. 1933) is one of the most prolific composers, arrangers, bandleaders, producers, and humanitarians in American music history and the recording and film industries. Among pop music fans he is perhaps most famous for producing Michael Jackson's album, Thriller. Clarence Bernard Henry focuses on the life, music, career, and legacy of Jones within the social, cultural, historical, and artistic context of American, African American, popular, and world music traditions.

Jones's career has spanned over sixty years, generating a substantial body of work with over five hundred compositions and arrangements. The author focuses on this material as well as many of Jones's accomplishments: performing as a young trumpeter in the bands of Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie, becoming the first African American to hold an executive position in the competitive white-owned recording industry, breaking racial barriers as a composer in the Hollywood film and television industries, producing the best-selling album of all time, and receiving numerous Grammy Awards.

The author also discusses many of Jones's compositions, arrangements, and recordings and his compositional study in France with legendary teacher Nadia Boulanger. In addition, details are provided about Jones's distinct ability as one of the most innovative composers and arrangers who incorporates many different styles of music, techniques, and creative ideas in his compositions, arrangements, and film scores. He collaborated with an array of musicians and groups such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Clifford Brown, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, USA for Africa, and many others. Clarence Bernard Henry shows how Jones has, throughout his career, wholeheartedly embraced philosophies of globalization and cultural diversity in his body of work, collaborations, humanitarian projects, and musical creativity.


"Clarence Bernard Henry has given to American music literature the most beautifully written treatise on the musical accomplishments of the great Quincy Jones. No one has explicated more thoroughly the prodigious, diverse, and unprecedented contributions of Jones. By doing so, Henry has proven that Quincy Jones is unequivocally one of America's foremost masters of music. This book is a literary masterpiece and should be required reading for all students of American and African American music history."

- Earl L. Stewart, associate professor in the Department of Black Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of African American Music: An Introduction