Quincy Jones—musician, composer, producer, arranger, conductor. It would seem that everything Quincy Jones touches turns to gold. (Or, at least platinum).
Named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century, Quincy has received 25 Grammy Awards and has been nominated 79 times (the all-time most nominations for an artist). For three famously productive years, he was Frank Sinatra’s conductor and arranger, producing, among others, the arrangement Fly Me to The Moon, the first music played on the moon in 1969 by astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
Quincy went on to produce Michael Jackson’s multi-platinum solo albums Off the Wall, Bad, and Thriller (the best selling album of all time). He won an Emmy Award for the musical score of Roots. He wrote 33 major motion picture scores, garnering seven Oscar nominations.
He was the co-producer of Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple,” which received 11 Oscar nominations and introduced Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey to film audiences. He helped launch and executive produced NBC’s TV hit series “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” bringing the young Will Smith into our homes.
Watch the video tribute to Quincy Jones.
While working non-stop, and being lauded world-wide, he wrote “Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones”. The book immediately hit the Best-Seller lists of The New York Times, LA Times and The Wall Street Journal.
But Quincy was always giving back. His humanitarian work began in the 1960s and has continued throughout his lifetime. In 1985, he took on the role of celebrity fundraiser, using his influence to raise funds and awareness with the historic “We Are The World.” (The best-selling single of all time, which he produced and conducted). That recording raised $63 million for Ethiopian famine relief and set the standard for cause driven specials ever since. He worked tirelessly with Bono and Bob Geldof to raise billions to end third world debt and was a major force in organizing We Are The World for Haiti in 2010.
He has a deep compassion for children, especially disadvantaged children. In 2007, he wrote the award-winning musical score for the Closing Ceremony of the Special Olympics held in Shanghai, touching millions of children with developmental disabilities. His concern for the disadvantaged is also epitomized in his Project Q, a Harvard School of Public Health collaboration, and his work with the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome.
In 2008, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation established the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award in honor of Quincy’s leadership and humanitarian work that continues to aid the disadvantaged, including the developmentally disabled.
“I believe from the bottom of my heart that every child on this planet has something to offer mankind and they can soar to the highest mountain tops if they are given the opportunity to do so. As the first national institute that will comprehensively address the basic clinical research and care for people with Down syndrome, I have no doubt that the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome will be the world’s leading care center for those impacted by this condition. It will also provide an avenue for obtaining undeniable and fundamental civil rights for these beautiful children, so that they can achieve everything they can imagine. I am enthusiastically looking forward to working with the patrons of this institution to bring those goals to fruition in any way I can.”
—Quincy Jones at the 2008 announcement of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome