Quincy Jones Wanted Some Pie. That's What Drove the 11-Year-Old and His Friends to Break into a Rec Center in Their Seattle-Area Neighborhood One Night. after Gorging on Lemon Meringue Pie and Ice Cream and Having a Food Fight, Jones Wandered into an Office and Spotted a Piano in the Corner

By Greenwood, Chelsea | Success, January 2009 | Go to article overview

Quincy Jones Wanted Some Pie. That's What Drove the 11-Year-Old and His Friends to Break into a Rec Center in Their Seattle-Area Neighborhood One Night. after Gorging on Lemon Meringue Pie and Ice Cream and Having a Food Fight, Jones Wandered into an Office and Spotted a Piano in the Corner


Greenwood, Chelsea, Success


"I almost closed the door and left," he says. "But something, thank God, told me, 'Go back in that room, fool.' And I did. I touched that piano and knew then that every part of my soul would be in music forever."

That moment changed the course of Jones' life. He gave up the role of petty thief and gang member to embrace music, eventually becoming composer, artist, conductor, arranger, producer and record company executive. Over his more than 60-year music career, Jones has worked with the greats. Among them: Ray Charles (a childhood friend), Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson (Jones produced Jackson's Thriller, the best-selling album in history). Jones" list of accolades is equally impressive, including 27 Grammys (and 79 nominations, more than anyone in history), the Recording Academy's Trustees Award and the Grammy Living Legend Award.

And that's just his musical career. Jones, 75, has also found success in TV and film, producing such hits as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and the critically acclaimed The Color Purple, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. He has also founded Quincy Jones Entertainment, Quincy Jones Media Group, Qwest Records, Qwest. Broadcasting and Vibe magazine.

FINDING HIS PASSION

Such success was nowhere on the horizon for a young Quincy Jones, born and reared in Chicago until the age of 10.

"My daddy worked for the biggest black gangsters in Chicago," Jones says. "He was a master carpenter who built their homes--the Jones Boys, the Capones, all those people back then. That's all I ever saw in the '30s: the machine guns, the stogies, piles of cash and all the shootings ... ice picks in bodies. It's unbelievable."

On top of that, his schizophrenic mother was institutionalized when Jones was just 7. After moving with his father and siblings to seaule--and discovering the power of music--Jones made a decision: "I made a deal with myself that, if I didn't have a mother, I didn't need one, and I would let music be my mother, because it would never let you down. It's just something that touched me."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Jones immersed himself in all things music. He tried piano, violin, clarinet, percussion and five more instruments before settling on the trumpet. He joined area bands, studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and eventually took up with Lionel Hampton and his big band--Jones big break into the music industry.

He credits that break to his devotion and diligence. "The dictionary is the only place where success precedes work--that's alphabetical," he says. "You have to get off your butt and do it. You have to have a core skill and you have to study all aspects of it. The emotional side is what will drive it, but the science is what will prepare you--if it's playing piano scales or if it's a business course at Wharton, whatever. The science will be there to back up all your ideals and dreams. You know how they say, 'Make the drunken dreams turn into sober realities?' It's really true."

LEARN FROM THE BEST

In the years that followed, Jones was "always inquisitive," he says. "When I was young, I used to sit down, shut up and listen to people who knew what they were talking about--musicians and my mentors, Count Basie, Ray Charles, Benny Carter and businessmen like Steve Ross at Time Warner and Irving Green at Mercury Records."

While on the road with Hampton, Jones' talent for arranging songs became evident. But, even when he began arranging for artists like Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington in the mid-1950s, Jones' lessons from his band days remained relevant.

"The big band is my whole world," he says. "That's what I look at everything like. [All the musicians] play something different, but they do it together--the power of collective creativity. In an orchestra, you have 120 musicians, a composer and a conductor all thinking about one thing.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Quincy Jones Wanted Some Pie. That's What Drove the 11-Year-Old and His Friends to Break into a Rec Center in Their Seattle-Area Neighborhood One Night. after Gorging on Lemon Meringue Pie and Ice Cream and Having a Food Fight, Jones Wandered into an Office and Spotted a Piano in the Corner
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.