Quincy Jones, Jacob Collier

I read this excellent and frank interview with Quincy Jones, which has startled a few. Some questioned the veracity of some of this answers but it all rings true to me. A long time Quincy fan, since I heard his beautiful arrangements on Paul Simon’s 1973 album ‘There Goes Rhymin’ Simon’ – I particularly love ‘American Tune’ – he has by now become one of music’s unabashed greats.

Favourite quote:

Is there innovation happening in modern pop music?
Hell no. It’s just loops, beats, rhymes and hooks. What is there for me to learn from that? There ain’t no fucking songs. The song is the power; the singer is the messenger. The greatest singer in the world cannot save a bad song. I learned that 50 years ago, and it’s the single greatest lesson I ever learned as a producer. If you don’t have a great song, it doesn’t matter what else you put around it.

Still discoveries proliferate. In 2016 the BBC staged a prom concert as a tribute to the man, and that is where I chanced upon Jacob Collier, a beautiful talent who Quincy picked up early and produced.

The first time I heard this, the hairs on my neck went up, and my eyes filled with tears. Not for sadness, but for beauty. I couldn’t even begin to grasp what the music was doing, how it was formed, as its immediate effect was overwhelming. If you aren’t particularly romantic, or a lover of jazz and soul, it may leave you cold. But if you do appreciate jazz, soul, and great musical talent, and you don’t yet know this song, ‘In The Real Early Morning’, prepare to be astounded.

Post to Twitter Tweet this Post to Facebook Share on Facebook

Quincy Jones

quincy_jones_2008Some people have all the luck, all the talent and we are in awe of their creative majesty. Quincy Jones is such a man. His productions are big, sultry, sensual and funky, uplifting, sweet and moving. He imbues his superior musical energy like magic upon everything he touches.

Quincy has worked with at least dozen of my favourite artists, including Count Basie, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Chaka Khan, Paul Simon, and Prince.

Best known for producing Michael Jackson’s Thriller and the African famine fundraiser We Are The World his modus operandum seems to be working with great joy, famously putting a sign on the studio entrance: “Check your ego at the door”.

As well as producing one of the biggest albums of all time, he is a direct and much-sampled inspiration for Trip-Hop, that downtempo, chilled moody genre which emerged in the 1990s, which draws on a far more subtle and intimate musicality than his later Hollywood successes.

I loved Les Nuits by Nightmares on Wax since I first heard its spine-tingling intro and it didn’t take me too long to trace the roots back to Quincy. Listen to the original and then to the music which is inspired by it.

If I could take one thing from Quincy and transplant it into myself, it would be his string arrangements. American Tune by Paul Simon has a haunting, classical chord progression which is elevated by Quincy’s understated strings, turning his muse on the moral collapse of his nation into something far more meaningful than just a protest song.


Post to Twitter Tweet this Post to Facebook Share on Facebook